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Cornell University Library 

BX9225.H17 H17 1901 

John Hall, pastor and jpreacher a blogra 


3 1924 029 478 975 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

John Hall 

Pastor and 





/f/S SOAT 




Copyright, 1901, by 





• u 



whose eager love lightened 

at every step 

the life of him whom these pages 

would fain portray, 

and from whom not even death divides 

this volume is affectionately dedicated 

By Her Son. 


IT has been a labor of filial love to trace the life 
of one who left his mark for good upon 
thousands of lives. The born preacher foregoes 
a measure of literary fame as he speaks to the 
immediate needs of men, not in the forms that 
might make him acceptable to the chosen few, 
but in the modes understood of the many. My 
father was himself averse to printing his sermons. 
He has left but few in such a form that they 
could be given to the press, and those would, I 
fear, misrepresent him to those who never heard 
his voice or knew the charm that separates the 
born preacher from the pulpit speaker or even 
the platform orator. He gave his life for his 
generation. He sought no reputation as either a 
theologian or man of letters. Indeed he deliber- 
ately turned away from work great gifts fitted 
him to do, for that which he deemed more im- 
portant; the calling of men to life eternal in 
Christ Jesus our Lord. The purpose of these 
pages is to prolong a little the savor of his mem- 


ory; to interpret, however weakly, the sincerity 
and singleness of aim that marlted the man, to a 
generation that needs inspiration to simplicity; 
to remind friends of what we all have lost, and 
perhaps, to help some one seeking to live the 
life of sacrifice and devotion how to make 
that life more widely useful. The filial relation 
forbids alike eulogium and critique. No powers 
at the command of the author can do justice to 
the straightforward, tender, upright manhood 
that made my father a tower of strength to every 
cause he made his own, and a sheltering rock to 
many weaker ones battling with untoward cir- 
cumstances. In him strength and gentleness 
mingled in an indescribably attractive way. He 
was personally unspoilt by success, and the last 
tests of his character though they broke his heart, 
left him without bitterness, humbly and simply 
leaning on that Father's strength, whose way is 
not our way, but whose love guarded His servant 
unto the end. With no one did my father prob- 
ably speak more intimately on many subjects 
connected with his life and work than with the 
writer. The loving confidences of a common 
calling were unbroken to the end. During the 
weakness and ill-health at Buxton (England) 
memory naturally with him went back to early 


days, and sitting in the gardens or driving out on 
the high uplands he told me many things that 
will always remain with me as vivid impressions 
of his hopes and aims. His life was no complex 
problem to be slowly explained amidst doubts 
and guesses as to the deeper meaning. His aim 
was as direct as it was high. He felt himself to 
be an ambassador for Christ beseeching men to 
be reconciled unto God. May this sketch of his 
life and work prolong for a little the tender 
memories of his loving plea. 

Thomas C. Hall, D. D. 

Professor of Ethics^ 

Union Theological Seminary^ 
New York. 



The Province of Ulster The Family Home.— Early Train- 
ing — School Life. — The Old Meeting-house Earliest 

Memories.— Christian Experiences . . . ig 


Early Entrance to College. — The Religious Life of Belfast 
College. — Dr. Cooke and Dr. Edgar. — Undergraduate 
Days. — Special Religious Influences. — The Evangeli- 
cal Influences. — His Father's Death. — The Connaught 
Proposals ...-.--. ^^ 


Character of the West. — The Social Conditions. — The 
Potato Blight. — Dr. Edgar's Note of Alarm. — Sym- 
pathy in Belfast. — The Student Missionary. — Pulpit 
Shyness. — Industrial Schools. — The Forms of Oppo- 
sition. — Newspaper Work.— The Call to Armagh - 67 

Church Life in Armagh. — Marriage. — Methods as a Pastor. 
— Missionary Work. — The Missionary Herald. — Family 


Concerns — Temperance Agitation. — Revival Experi- 
ences.— Politics and the Crimean War.— The Needs of 
Dublin ■------. gc 



Mary's Abbey. — Irish Education. — National Schools. — 
The Queen's Commissionership. — The Rutland Square 
Church. — Vacations. — The Evangelical Witness. — Dis- 
establishment and the Moderatorship. — Delegate to 
America .-._---- 109 



Continental Travels. — First Voyage Across the Atlantic. — 
First Impressions of New York. — The Old and New 
School Assemblies. — Western Experiences. — Fast Trav- 
eling. — Washington and Baltimore The Journey 

Home ------._ 14^ 



Hints of a Coming Call. — An Atlantic Message. — The Call 
to America Accepted. — Remonstrances. — Reasons for 
Going. — Correspondence with America. — An Irish Esti- 
mate of Service Rendered - - - 169 



Arrival in New York. — The New York Home. — The Fifth 
Avenue Church's History. — The Reunion. — Ideals of 
Education. — Ideals in Preaching. — Immediate Success. 
— Methods. — Pastoral Work - . - - 191 



New York's Changes. — The New Building. — Fellow- 
workers in the Congregation. — Outside Activities. — 
Education. — Home Missions. — Sunday-Schools. — ■ 
Powers as a Debater. — Church Extension and City- 
Missions. — Literary Work and Ambitions. — Theology 217 


Humor. — Freedom in Education. — Amusements. — The Va- 
cation. — San Francisco. — Illness. — Mother's Death. — 
Nephew's Death. — The House of Commons. — On 
Board Ship. — Germany. — Attempted Assassination. — 
The Press Absurd Reports . - . . 247 


Powers of Controversy. — Revision. — Misunderstandings. — 
Counsels Rejected. — The Case of Dr. Briggs. — Union 
Seminary. — Attitude towards Extremists. — Conception of 
Fundamentals. ------- 273 


Degrees and Honors. — Inter-denominational Fellowship. — 
Church Unity. — Family Sorrows. — The Warsrawiak 
Case. — The Demanded Resignation. — The Congre- 
gational Protest.^The Church Reorganized - 293 


The Illness in New York. — Ordered to Buxton. — Increasing 
Weakness. — The Journey to Ireland. — Last Visit to Rut- 


land Square Church. — The Journey Northward. — Home 
Longings. — The Last Hours . . - . 327 


The Funeral in Ireland. — The Remains Taken to New 

York. — Services in New York Tributes to the 

Memory, — The Last Resting-Place .... 337 












The " Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette" nth December, 18^0. 

Nay, Life is not the thing thou makest it ! 'tis not 

To work and rest, to eat and sleep, and say — 'tis well. 

'Tis not to breathe the air of each new day, and tread 

Its round as does the sentinel, and boast at night 

That thou hast done thy work — ^it is not insect-like 

To flit from flower to flower — and sip what thou hast named 

A new delight : but which the wise fear not to call 

But perfumed poisons — it is not to kill the time. 

As though time were thy mortal enemy — 'tis not 

To hold up to thy lips the maddening cup, of which 

The fire distilled hath, worse than lightning — blighted souls, 

And been the prelude sad to fires eternal ! 

'Tis not, where graceful forms obey the impulses 

Of sweet and joyous melody, and revel in 

The mazes of the dance, like her, who took the fee 

For her performance, in the faithful Baptist's blood 1 

This is not Life, and if thou deem'st it is — alas ! 

Eternity will sadly undeceive thy soul. 

And Death will prove thy thought supremely mad ! 

Oh ! did'st thou know how minds, once like thine own, regard 

Thy trifling, thou would'st surely ask thyself at times 

" How seem I in the holy eye of Him who gave 

This life, and bade me serve Him ever ? " 

'Tis not life ! 
'Tis dancing on the scaffold — singing songs of joy. 
When justice saith of thee thou art " condemned already." 

No it is life, to serve the Maker of our soul. 
To feel His power, admit His justice, and escape 

i8 LIFE 

His wrath deserved by sheltering beneath the tree 

Blood-sprinkled^ where, and only, where is life eternal — 

To be filled with holiest aspirations that take hold 

Of things in heaven, — to hope and fear, and act 

As children of a King. It is to consecrate 

The passing hour, and to the high behests of heaven 

To yield unfeigned submission — when the soul. 

Unchained, from earth's severest toils can look away 

With eye unkindled, upon crowns, and harps, and thrones, 

And say in humble faith, " these are for me — the blood 

Of Him I love hath bought them, and His grace hath made 

Them mine irrevocably." This is joyous life ! 

The dawning of a deathless day — the vestibule 

Of Heaven's own glorious temple — and who liveth thus, 

Shall tread its courts forever. 

Then, although our life 
Be '* but a vapor," it is such an one as shall 
Soar high in sunlight, leave its grosser part awhile 
On earth, and be absorbed into the holy heaven. 




When thou wast born, a naked helpless child, 

Thou only wept while all around thee smiled. 

So live, that sinking in thy last long sleep, 

Calm thou may'st smile, when all around thee weep. 



THE Province of Ulster lacks some of the 
picturesque features tliat mark the southern 
and western parts of Ireland, nor is its soil the 
most fertile, yet a sturdy race has made it by far 
the most prosperous and contented portion of 
the Island. This northern section of the country 
was settled by Scotch and north of England 
Protestants to whom King James gave the land 
thus hoping to secure loyal support against the 
turbulent Roman Catholic opposition. ^ Among 
the Scotch settlers there went some of the family 
of Hall. The Scotch home is said to be still in 
the hands of the older branch of the family. 

All the descendants remained true to the old 
Scotch traditions, and the environment in which 
the subject of this memoir grew up was thus 
stoutly Protestant and Presbyterian. He was the 
eldest son of William Hall and Rachel McGowan. 
For six generations the family had maintained 

' Cf. Prendergast's " Irish Settlement." 


possession of Ballygorman, County Armagh, 
where my father was born on the 31st of July, 
1829. He was baptized in the same year on 
October 13th, by his mother's cousin the Rev. 
William McGowan. There came eight ' other 
children, all save three still living. Two little 
girls died in childhood, and one brother Robert 
Gillis, only survived his brother by about a year 
and a half. The three sisters still remain in the 
home country, but all the brothers either preceded 
or followed their eldest brother to America. 

It is not difficult for any one, at all familiar with 
the north of Ireland to form some picture of the 
simple home in which the family grew up. The 
little cottage still stands in the midst of the 
fields. A narrow lane bordered by thorn hedges 
leads up to the doorway. The softly rolling 
country is dotted by hundreds of other cottages 
not much varied in size and appearance. All 
neatly whitewashed, and now rather stiffly 
proud of slate roofs; these being an innovation. 
Part of the beauty of the countryside in the 
early days were the thatched roofs under which 
the birds built their nests, and twittered a noisy 
welcome to the early risers. Under a thatch 

' Robert G., Hannah, Elizabeth, Sarah Jane, James, Mary, 
Mary Hall, Samuel M. 







roof William Hall brought up his family. He 
was a man of high standing and wide influence 
in his community. He was an elder in the 
Church, and with him the position was one of 
solemn responsibility. He seems also to have 
been a much sought counsellor in the affairs of 
the cojTimunity and to have enjoyed a wide 
acquaintance and high respect. 

Wealth he did not have. A large family and 
impaired health shadowed his later days with 
natural anxieties. Moreover the defalcation of a 
fellow trustee for a ward placed in their joint 
charge by the courts greatly harassed him. 
William Hall at once assumed the full responsi- 
bility of making good the loss. This sum was a 
large one for those days and circumstances; and 
although he carried out his resolution with un- 
swerving fidelity the effort must have contrib- 
uted, his children always thought, to the shorten- 
ing of his days. It was his ambition to give all 
his boys the education so eagerly coveted alike in 
the north of Ireland as in Scotland by Protestant 
parents for their sons. Very early, therefore, the 
eldest boy was started on the highroad of learn- 
ing at the little neighborhood school kept by a Mr. 
Wm. Whitten at Lough gilly. My father has left 
the following little sketch of that early day: 


"Probably a village school in Ulster, Ireland's 
most prosperous province, u'ould be less impress- 
ive to the adult mind than is a well-ordered 
Ward school in New York; but to the present 
writer, at the age of five, or a little more, nothing 
earthly could possibly be more solemn than the 
country school, the day he was introduced. He 
remembers the appalling hum as he approached, 
the awful introduction to "the master," the 
masked battery of strange and scrutinizing eyes, 
and the agony of suspense in which he sat and 
watched the retreating friendly form that had 
sheltered him till then, wondering what would 
now be done to him! With some such feelings, 
possibly, the Androcles whose acquaintance was 
made afterwards, awaited the approach of the lion. 

"And the lion became quite tame and like An- 
drocles, even kind. This teacher had only a 
parish school, one of that sort of which it was 
playfully said that the pupils mainly learned the 
catechism, and to take off their hats to the squire. 
But this man was a true teacher, and a gentleman 
— he is now a good clergyman in Canada — and 
if for no other reason, the present writer, in 
memory of him, will revere the calling of the 
teacher, and claim respect for the class as long as 
he lives." 


The more modern methods of learning without 
work were not then in vogue. The early drill, 
however, insured fair spelling and some knowl- 
edge of the English grammar. The much- 
thumbed spelling-book still exists, which was 
learned by heart from end to end, definitions and 
all. When that had been exhausted a short 
dictionary took its place, and was similarly mas- 
tered. At a very early age the handwriting of 
little John was formed, and by its regularity and 
beauty became the pride of a large family circle. 
So much indeed was this the case, that in the 
evening the younger children of the family and 
the neighbors round about were gathered in the 
kitchen of the farmhouse, and this, as the 
largest room obtainable, was made into a night- 
schoolroom with the eldest boy as teacher under 
the general superintendence of the parents. 

Any true picture of the family life of those 
days would imply almost poverty to those ac- 
customed to greater luxury. The daily fare was 
of the simplest character. The products of the 
farm being almost wholly relied upon to supply 
the table. Fresh meat was not freely eaten. In 
the evening those who had worked in the fields 
gathered about the turf fire in the kitchen 
and over it hung a huge pot of oatmeal boiled 


with the buttermilk from the dairy. This with 
oat-cakes formed the principal food of the whole 
countryside. Money was very scarce. The 
farm methods were exceedingly primitive, and 
the lack of coal and capital made any changes 
difficult and often unprofitable. Even the cloth- 
ing was largely home-made and constructed with 
a view rather to endurance than to fashion. Yet 
for all this, enforced simplicity was not felt as 
poverty. Nowhere in the world can there be 
found to this day, a prouder independence than 
among the self-sustaining Ulster farmers. 

When it became apparent that the capacity of 
the oldest son easily warranted the ambition of a 
college education, William Hall took up bravely 
the burden of making due preparation for this 
step. Mr. Whitten left soon for other parts, and 
his successor then confessed not long after that 
he could do no more for the boy. Some three 
miles from Ballygorman a man of good parts had 
established a classical school. The father at first 
took lodgings for his son near the school, but 
this plan was found to be inconvenient; then the 
boy, already tall for his age, walked with his 
school-books flung over his shoulder in a green 
bag. The walk was, however, too much for the 
growing lad, and the father bought him a pony. 


To the end of his days he carried the scar caused 
by the pony throwing him against a mile-stone 
on the roadside. 

The classical drill was narrow in range, but 
sound and thorough. The Latin of those days 
was never forgotten. And all through my 
father's life he had the habit of writing little ex- 
clamatory prayers in the Latin tongue in his note- 
books or at the close of sermons and addresses. 
The growing mind of a rather sober boy was 
now stimulated by the sense of increasing re- 
sponsibility. For the health of the father began 
now to fail steadily. Towards eventide the 
parent would take his eldest son by the hand, 
and with him would go out to the little orchard 
behind the cottage, and there overlooking the 
"far land" in the glow of the closing day, he 
would commune with God; and he himself pre- 
maturely bent with hard toil, anxiety and 
care, would impress on the boy's mind lessons 
he never forgot of fidelity to duty, obedience to 
God, dependence upon prayer, and of faithful- 
ness in all undertaken tasks. Even then the 
boy's mind was filled with awe and hope at the 
prospect of undertaking the public ministry of 
God's word. When the minister came, as was 
the wholesome custom, and gathered about him 


all the children to question and instruct them in 
religious matters, the eldest boy was always 
foremost in the accuracy of the answering. Each 
Sabbath the family made the way "across the 
bogs " if fine, along the roadway in wet or win- 
ter weather to the "meeting-house." Of this 
my father has left a description.' 

" High trees shade the place. Decent grave- 
stones, neat walks, beech hedges, and a high, 
strong wall dividing all from the main street — 
the one street of the village — give the place the 
air of a venerable and honored institution where 
the living worship, and where the dead repose. 
In the centre of the inclosure, along one side of 
which flows a rivulet through what was once a 
glen, rises the main building, solid in structure if 
not artistic in shape, and approached by a fitting 
gate, stone stairs and wide and sanded avenue, 
with the graves of the people right and left of it. 
You may walk straight up the aisle, with the 
pulpit on your left and out at the corresponding 
door, when another wide walk, similarly sur- 
rounded, takes you to the ' retiring-room.' Close 
by this retiring-room are the tombs of the minis- 
ters who lived and died among the people, and 

• In the New York Ledger, the owners of which have given 
generous permission to reprint any material found useful. 


over whose graves substantial monuments, with 
fitting inscriptions, invite the attention and ven- 
eration of all comers, and are read and re-read in 
the warm summer days, when the people are 
'waiting for the minister to go in.' Where 
' fifty years of faithful service ' are credited to a 
pastor whose remains sleep there — wife and 
several children beside him — it is not to be won- 
dered at if the name is repeated with tenderness, 
and held in veneration. 

"It is more than fifty years since the present 
writer was taken as a child to that ' meeting- 
house.' The minister was, to him, old, for a 
child counts any one old whose hair is turning 
gray, but he was remarkably kindly; and the 
kindness was all the more touching from the 
gravity of his bearing, and the dignity of his 
walk. I am not sure that all that he preached 
was understood, but it was all so solemn, tender, 
and suggestive of Deity and eternity, and the at- 
tention of the people was so reverent, that it was 
impossible to be inattentive. Much is said now- 
adays about making the churches attractive to 
the young, and the effort often leads in the direc- 
tion of competition with popular institutions that 
thrive by the number of tickets they can sell. 
The writer may be mistaken, but all his recollec- 


tions would indicate that to make the church and 
its service solemn, tender, true to the facts of 
life, real, sincere, and not a show of things not 
rendered real to the young mind, is the best way 
to make it revered and beloved by those who 
have not yet been demoralized by ' spectacles ' 
and palpable insincerities. 

"Fifty years ago the floors were earthen, ex- 
cept the great double pews at each end, which 
were ascended by a couple of steps, of course 
with a boarded floor and a wooden cover, like 
the venerable four-poster beds of the past genera- 
tion. In one of these it was the writer's privilege 
to sit and, while singing was going on, to gaze 
with admiration at the huge beams stretched 
from wall to wall, and on which rested the ' up- 
rights ' that held up the roof, for ceiling the 
building had none. On the angle made by the 
walls of two converging aisles stood the pulpit, 
high, narrow, with a roof over it with no visible 
support, and below it, a smaller one for the pre- 
centor, whose duty it was to give out each line 
of the psalm, sing it, or rather lead in the singing 
of it, and then give the next, and so on. These 
arrangements can be so described as to provoke 
a smile, but they were on the line of the life of 
the people; they were of a piece with the ways 


of other churches, and they were not incompat- 
ible with solemnity any more than with decency. 
1 can well remember the Communion Sabbath — 
the long tables, covered with the white linen, 
stretching all the length of the aisles, and the 
people, psalm-books in hand, slowly and with 
the most devout bearing, moving out of their 
pews to their places, singing as they went: 

' I'll of salvation take the cup, 
On God's name will I call ; 
I'll pay my vows now to the Lord 
Before His people all.' 

I have seen stately processions in historic cathe- 
drals, and still more moving spectacles of thou- 
sands starting to their feet under one impulse, 
but never anything more like reverent acknowl- 
edgment of the Divine than then appeared in 
the old meeting-house." 

Thus he grew up a tall thin lad, not then pos- 
sessing the muscular vigor he afterwards de- 
veloped, but with good health, and an envied 
reputation among his playmates for good temper, 
and although not strong yet quick and agile. 
Indeed at jumping he was long preeminent both 
at school and later at Belfast. 

Narrow means lose much of their terror when 
they are not contrasted with luxury, and do not 


place us in the power of others. The struggle 
with nature was hard for all alike. Manly inde- 
pendence was possible even to the poor. Thrift 
and daily toil entailed neither personal degrada- 
tion nor loss of social standing. Work was the 
normal occupation of all. Even as a young boy 
my father had helped to earn his school fees by 
giving lessons to those less advanced. When, 
therefore, it was decided that he should go to Bel- 
fast and prepare himself for the ministry,he looked 
forward, as did practically all his fellow-students, 
to helping himself through the course by teach- 
ing, prize-taking, and in other legitimate ways. 
There was a growing family to consider, and 
little sisters and brothers made the utmost econ- 
omy necessary. 

The atmosphere of the home was in the best 
sense of that word religious. At the same time 
intellectual influences were not lacking. William 
Hall, my grandfather, must have been a man of 
considerable intellectual force. Even while 
walking with the plough he would tell his boy 
stories from the Greek and Roman classics which 
he had gathered from well-used translations, and 
early he instilled into his son's mind a love for 
good English verse. Years afterwards my father 
could repeat poems he had so learned, and he 


never quite gave up the practice of from time to 
time learning verse. The simple easy rhythm of 
his pulpit style was, no doubt, in good part a 
product of this training. 

When John Hall went away to complete his 
education he carried with him, as he did through 
all his life the savor and fragrance of pious love. 

There were in those days in Ireland no com- 
mittees to grant money to any boy who induced 
his presbytery to give him a good character and 
who wanted to study at the expense of the 
church at large. There were, however, prizes 
and places that scholarship gave a claim upon. 
And although very young and by no means 
strong all the teachers were agreed that William 
Hall's eldest son should certainly go to Belfast 
and prepare for the ministry. The last penny of 
the sum spent by the unfaithful trustee had at 
length been paid, and the prospects of the family 
looked brighter. The classical school had been 
pretty well exhausted by the diligence of the 
pupil and so at a very early age it seemed best to 
send the youth to Belfast. 

It was a simple boyhood, filled with work, and 
with, perhaps, a minimum of play. Yet withal 
that childhood was always looked back to with 
tender memories of its joys, and a deep and rev- 


erent love for all the simple associations, and 
gentle influences of the home. Of that child- 
hood my father published himself some mem- 
ories in the Evangelical Witness under the 
date 1861. He was at that time himself the 
editor, so the impressions were not signed by 
him, but given under the heading "I remember," 
by "An Old Boy." Some extracts are as fol- 

"I remember the first conscious impression I 
had of beauty. I think it almost as distinct a 
recollection as I have. It was a summer after- 
noon: we lived in the country, and in a house of 
no particular pretensions. It had trees about it, 
many of them sycamores, in which the wild bees 
were keeping up a pleasant hum. My brother — 
he was younger than I — and myself were playing 
in front of the house, when my mother raised 
the window, and calling us, handed each some 
bread and honey, with some kindly word — I for- 
get what. I think our pleasure pleased her, for 
her face beamed as it had never beamed to me 
before, and for the first time I was distinctly 
conscious that my mother was beautiful! It had 
a great effect on me. My mother was always 
good to me, and I revered her, but now I had a 
new feeling towards her. She was like an angel 


to me now. Ah, mother! long years have gone 
since then. On that face, there has been many a 
tear, tears over the little dead bodies, tears over 
their father's coffm, tears, no doubt, over me, 
and that face is changed to all others. 1 keep in 
my heart the photograph that was taken of it 
that summer afternoon, long, long ago, and I 
think, like that will be my mother's face to me 
in heaven. 

"1 remember the first real cry 1 ever, with my 
heart, sent up to God. Do not tell me that chil- 
dren have no troubles. Do not think because the 
tears soon give place to laughter they did not come 
from sorrow. I had early troubles, for there 
were tyrants — cruel and wanton tyrants of eight, 
nine and ten years of age, at school with me. 
The teacher closed it with prayer — a good cus- 
tom, — and I prayed. Prayers wrung from us by 
fear, I know, are not the best, but they are better 
than none, and I prayed them. My childish heart 
did actually ask God to save me from my tor- 
mentors. Oh, boys and girls! do not make any 
child's life bitter at school. He may cry to God 
against you, and God may hear and avenge him. 

" I remember the first deep remorse 1 ever had. 
It was a dreary winter day, and 1 do not remem- 


ber how it came about, but a poor wretched dog 
came into our hands, and i and anotherboy made 
sorry sport for ourselves by throwing the creature 
into the water, pelting it with stones, and when 
it sweltered to the bank, pushing it in again. In 
one of its attempts to get out, I bent down to 
hurl it back, when the creature turned its eye on 
me with such a look of entreaty and reproach — 
such an appealing, deprecating lookl It went to 
my heart. 1 could not touch it again. 1 won- 
dered how my playmate could. I saved it from 
his hands, but I was too much of a coward to 
tell him why. Oh, I shall never forget that look 
from the dumb, helpless, suffering animal. It may 
seem profane to say it here, but I know the force 
of 'Jesus turned and looked upon Peter.' Many 
a time I have felt remorse since then, but I doubt 
if ever it was more poignant than under the eye 
of that poor dog. 

" I remember the first falsehood. My father had 
taken pains to teach me a lesson one evening, and 
he inquired particularly the next, was I not best 
in my class ? It was too much for me. I said 
yes, and felt degraded and condemned. Uncon- 
sciously he tempted me, but I should not have 
given way. And now I am older, I doubt if 
parents are wise when they inquire too minutely 


about the sayings and doings of tiieir young ones, 
from themselves. Our school, I am sure, was 
not a wonderful school in any way. You might 
see the boys and girls on a November morning, 
when the hoarfrost whitened the crisp grass, 
tripping along with little red hands, and shining 
faces, with a book or two under one arm and ' a 
turf (of peat) under the other, which, on enter- 
ing the school, was added to the heap that 
warmed the house for the day. And yet, simple 
and primitive as it was, we had the usual vari- 
ety of character, and 1 think, speaking generally, 
those whom 1 know now, are very much in ma- 
turity, what they were beginning to be as chil- 

"I remember the first lively impression 1 had of 
natural beauty. 1 had gone to another school, 
from which I was returning through the field. It 
was the end of March, and a sunny afternoon. 
Descending a gentle incline towards a little 
stream, I stepped on the mound that rose above 
it on one side, to jump over it to the lower bank 
on the other. I paused before leaping. The 
water was clear, showing the smooth pebbles 
underneath it, and the sunbeams glinting off them 
through the little eddies. The wild plants on the 
margin were coming out, and the moss and water 


herbage had a cheerful tint of green, and all was 
so calm, so clear, so harmonious, so suggestive 
of — not thoughts but feelings — pleasant yet some- 
how pensive — as to seem almost intelligent. It 
was long before 1 made my leap, and went on 
my way. 1 have seen many things since, — 
mountain, glen and flood, but did I ever taste a 
purer joy from these than when I discovered that 
new delight ? 

* * ^ * 5ff * 

" I remember the first death 1 saw. When I was 
leaving home one morning for school, mother's 
face was more than commonly pale. She had 
been up all night, and on her knee lay the cause 
of her wakefulness. Poor baby was ill — she 
feared, dying. Her little bosom heaved — even I 
could see — too much, and her little placid face 
had a look of languor as she lay with the head 
thrown back on her mother's arms. Mother 
made me kiss the baby particularly; — her heart, I 
knew, would fain have kept me at home, but 
what could I do ? I went to school. When I 
came home the house was more than usually still, 
without and within. There was a hushed solem- 
nity over all, and I saw the little baby face, the 
stillness of death on it, and the little curls drawn 
out from the small white cap, and falling on the 


baby brow, and mother sat looking at the closed 
eyes, and hair, and little fingers, oh, with what 
a terrible, still grief! That was the first death 
that came near me, and 1 had far more thought 
about it than children are supposed to have. 1 
used to stand with my mother, when we went to 
' meeting ' — we went a little earlier often than 
the people — by the little grassy grave where baby 
lay, and I knew my mother was thinking of her 
little one, ' now ' she said, ' like an angel in 
heaven.' I know now what mother then felt. 

rp ^ ^ ^ ^ 't^ 

"1 remember when I first went to Sabbath- 
school. It was a union school, the curate and the 
country being joined in its management, and where 
little, stout red-leather Psalm-books, with clasps, 
were coveted prizes among the children, before 
they were big enough to earn Bibles. When they 
did earn them by giving in ever so many tickets, 
each representing a Sunday at school, and so many 
verses learned ' by heart ' what honest pride they 
felt! You might see the happy little maiden 
with her Bible in the folded pocket handkerchief, 
with a sprig of ' sither-wood ' — that fragrant (?) 
plant which the Scottish settlers brought with 
them — or mayhap a full-blown rose gracing the 
exposed top of the precious book, blithely 


tripping to 'meeting' with father or mother. 
Ah, me! these simple luxuries are giving place 
to French gold and fashionable 'gauntlets,' 
but we do not complain. The world moves, 
and we believe Ulster has never had as many 
Bible-loving maidens as at this moment. By 
such as these, one of them is in heaven now, 
1 think, — 1 was conducted to the Sabbath- 
school. There was much learning of texts, 
and exercise of the memory. There was little 
exercise of the judgment and no appeal to 
the heart. The school did good, for it formed 
good habits, familiarized the mind with the words 
of the Scriptures; but it did far less good than 
it might, had there been teachers fit to teach. 

"1 remember reading seven chapters of Deu- 
teronomy in a morning in that school. On — on 
— on we went without note or comment. Now 
that 1 am older I see the need of training teachers 
if we are to get good from our Sunday-schools, 
and I am thankful, and I hope so are my readers, 
that we have so many to teach, speaking what 
they know, and inviting to a Saviour whom they 
have found themselves." 

The influences of that Christian home were 
always emphasized by my father. He felt that 
such surroundings made a vast difference in judg- 


ing of a life. He went himself naturally into all 
the full duties of the Christian profession, having 
been baptized into the Church as a child. In re- 
ply to an inquisitive editor, he once wrote: 

" In reply to your inquiries 1 have to say, with 
profound gratitude to God, that 1 was brought 
up in the closest connection with the church, 
learned the ' Shorter Catechism ' in my home, 
attended Sabbath-school, and, 1 think, believed 
in the Saviour for years before becoming a com- 
municant. This step I was permitted to take at 
the age of fourteen, after passing through the 
communicants' class of a faithful pastor." 

In this home the vacations away from college 
were always spent. And to the school whence 
he had gone to college he returned to assist dur- 
ing his leisure time. He also aided his father on 
the farm as much as he was able to, and while at 
home made himself useful by teaching the 
younger children. His sisters say they remember 
the dehght with which he was always welcomed 
back from Belfast, and to him they always looked 
almost more as a father than a brother in later 




Matt. 8 : 14. 

Beside the sufferer's fever'd bed 

Behold the Saviour stand, 
Calmly He bids disease depart, 

And takes the burning hand. 
Obedient to the voice of Him 

Whose word allayed the storm. 
Fever at once the victim leaves — 

Forsakes the wasted form. 

And is the Saviour weaker now ? 

Shortened His helping arm ? 
Less willing, or less able He 

To shield from every harm ? 
No ! He whose word of matchless power 

Frees from the threatening grave — ■ 
Who set at nought the tomb's embrace, 

Has still the power to save. 

May He, then, now exert that power, 

Make groundless all our fears, 
And raise hitn from the bed of pain 

In answer to our prayers ! 
Restore him. Lord ! to eager friends. 

As gold tried and refined, 
That he may preach a Saviour's love, 

And mercy to mankind. 

— J. Hall. 





IT was at an exceedingly early age even in those 
days that the name of John Hall was in- 
scribed on the books of the College at Belfast. 
He began his work there with the autumn session 
of 1841, and was therefore just beginning his 
thirteenth year. It is of no little importance to 
form some estimate of the religious and in- 
tellectual atmosphere from which the boy went 
and into which he entered. Ireland was feeling 
the full force of the evangelical movement. 
What Dr. Chalmers was in his way doing for 
Scotland Dr. Henry Cooke was accomplishing 
for Ireland. The home in Ballygorman had felt 
the impulses of a newly awakened religious life. 
The type of personal piety which was one of the 
best products of the evangelical movement was 
familiar to the lad as he saw it in both his father 
and mother. He was too young to have been 


greatly stirred by the battle which Dr. Cooke had 
just won against moderatism and a loose Arian- 
ism— as it was called in those days. The signs 
of Dr. Cooke's victory were the enforcement of 
subscription to the standards and the control of the 
theological teaching in Belfast. The intellectual 
life of the north of Ireland had been quickened 
by the struggle. Although the College of Bel- 
fast as then at work would to-day be regarded 
as poorly equipped, and badly arranged, neither 
equipment nor systems really constitute a place 
of learning. There was to be found in its teach- 
ing the fresh earnest spirit of a triumphant 
church. The class-rooms still resounded with 
the arguments and the battle-cries of the past 
conflict, but better than these battle-cries there 
pervaded the lecture-rooms a deep sense of a 
newly awakened religious feeling. High per- 
sonal standards of godly living and entire con- 
secration to the work of the ministry made the 
theological students a powerful influence among 
their fellows. The whole atmosphere of the 
place was pervaded by the intense feeling to 
which the reawakening had given rise. 

According to the arrangement of studies the 
first sessions were devoted to the liberal arts. 
The professors in the theological department 


taught however, here also. Hence the degree 
conferred upon "Johannem Hall" in November, 
1845, is signed by Drs. Edgar as the moderator 
pro tern, Robert Parks, Adam Mongomery (Ex- 
aminer in Natural Philosophy), Killen (Professor 
of History), Robert Wilson (of Sacred Literature), 
Esaias Stern (Mathematics), and John Bentley 
(Examiner in Latin). From this it is seen that 
even in the undergraduate days theological in- 
terests were not neglected. Lecture courses 
were paid for as they were listened to, and the 
student received a card from the professor sta- 
ting that the fee had been paid and the course 
completed. At the end of the courses examina- 
tions were held, and in many departments extra 
examinations for prizes were also taken. The 
note-books of these early studies only in part 
survive, and are not neatly kept. But the note- 
books of the later specifically theological class- 
room work exhibit great care, and are written in 
the fine and legible handwriting of which men- 
tion has already been made. 

Student life in those days was not what it has 
since become; and was totally different from the 
highly organized life of an American College. 
The standard of expense was very low, and 
nearly all earned their way in part at least. It is 


needless to say that a walk in the country was the 
only athletic exercise common to all, and that col- 
lege life was almost unknown. The students lived 
in lodgings. They generally supplied their own 
breakfasts and teas. Dinner was supplied to 
groups, who clubbed together for the purpose, by 
enterprising families in the neighborhood of the 
college building. The class-rooms were often 
overcrowded. Some of the instruction was in- 
ferior in quality. At the same time a spirit of 
earnestness and work made the life a fruitful one 
in achievement afterwards. 

For a boy so young as was the subject of this 
life the work was hard, and in addition my 
father soon began to teach in a girls' school some 
distance from the college buildings. This work 
of teaching he maintained until the close of his 
studies. He often spoke of having rather wasted 
the first two or three years of his Belfast days, 
but that is not the impression made by the record 
of his daily doings. His own testimony how- 
ever, given in a letter written years after, to a 
nephew is as follows: "I lost a good deal of 
time from being irregular in my ways of work- 
ing, at one time idling, and at another working like 
a horse, though the result was too often sugges- 
tive of another animal with longer ears. 1 hope you 


/I / 

'^V /' 


will work steadily, never running in arrears. Be 
thorough in whatever you learn and skim nothing." 

Undoubtedly the real intellectual and spiritual 
influences of the college began to be felt most 
distinctly when the formal theological courses 
had been entered upon. 

It was at this time that a few earnest friends 
banded themselves together to pray, to improve 
their own spiritual life and to promote a new 
missionary spirit. When separating for their life- 
work these friends resolved that on Saturday 
evenings they should remember each other in 
prayers and by name as long as they lived. 

That little roll of names has been sadly re- 
duced by death and the everlasting reunion 
of an eternal fellowship has begun. The fel- 
lowship was very dear to them all, and 
formed an abiding influence upon my father's 
life. Often on Saturday nights he spoke of 
those friends, and recalled the early aspirations 
and inspirations of those college days. He had 
later in life a little reproduction made of his list 
of names and addresses as he furnished them to 
the little band as a reminder of their pledge. 

The missionary spirit was particularly empha- 
sized by Dr. Edgar who met with the students 
and guided them in their work and prayer con- 


ferences. Hence his name appears among those 
to be ever remembered before the throne of 
grace, although he was as a teacher looked upon 
somewhat differently from the student friends. 
To Dr. Edgar all eagerly went for advice and 
help, and his theology seems, along with that of 
Dr. Cooke, to have practically moulded the the- 
ological thought of the little band. 

The type of thought was that prevalent about 
that time in Calvinistic circles that had felt the in- 
fluence of the evangelical movement. Naturally 
it was eclectic and not always scientifically self- 
consistent, but in its clear definiteness, and sharp 
positive outlines, it was a system well suited for 
the practical work given the men to do. 

In Hebrew and Church History and later in 
Church History Essays my father repeatedly took 
prizes for good work. These were in the form 
of well selected books, admirably bound, and 
well fitted even to-day to grace a good library. 

Naturally the north of Ireland looked largely 
to Scotland for intellectual stimulus. Continental 
thought left little or no traces on the lecture 
notes, and many of the modern questions were, 
of course, not even considered. Dr. Cooke in 
his controversy had had occasion to build up a 
very strict theory of inspiration, and this was 


thoroughly inculcated not only by himself, but 
by the teachers whom he had to some degree 
gathered about him in Belfast. The main out- 
lines of this system were accepted cordially by 
my father, and he never saw any reason for 
seriously modifying them. 

The influence of Dr. Cooke's clear system 
softened a good deal by the kindlier spirit of Dr. 
Edgar is marked in the correspondence of all these 
student friends throughout its course. 

In after years the influence of this supreme man 
of action is traceable throughout my father's life, 
even though differences on various subjects had 
somewhat widely separated Dr. Cooke from my 
father. At this time, also, a struggle was going 
on in the then established church of Ireland, 
which influenced the young student. This con- 
flict was between the evangelical elements on 
the one hand, and the so-called "high and dry" 
party on the other, whose ascendency dated from 
Laud. In this struggle the sympathies of the 
Presbyterians were naturally with evangelical- 
ism. This produced a very deep and bitter feel- 
ing against the Presbyterians on the part of the 
Established Church on its high church side. In- 
deed they attempted to revive old laws by which 
certain Presbyterian marriages were illegal, and 


only in 1844 was a bill passed in the face of the 
bitter opposition of the Irish bishops making the 
offspring of such marriages legitimate. The 
teaching therefore of Belfast at that time was full 
of polemic, not always moderate in tone, against 
the claims of Rome and the High Church Episco- 
pacy. Particularly forceful and complete was 
Dr. Killen's treatment of the Protestant side of 
this controversy. These were the special in- 
fluences that controlled to a good degree the de- 
velopment of my father's thought. 

At the same time distinct notes of the evangel- 
ical awakening appear in his early religious ex- 
perience. The very banding together of the 
group of friends reminds us of similar bands in 
Oxford and under the haystack in New England. 
The missionary spirit was new to Presbyterian- 
ism, and was an importation from the evangel- 
ical awakening. This laid strong hold upon these 
friends, and the field of labor nearest to them was 
Connaught and the south of Ireland generally. 
The students of the college formed a society to 
support missionaries of their own in this region. 
In this work my father took an active part. 
, The social activity of the awakening was also 
a marked feature of the best religious life of 
those days. Temperance bands were formed to 


combat the great and increasing evils of drunk- 
enness. The older orthodoxy looked with sus- 
picious eye upon this movement, and some 
fiercely resented it as an imputation upon the 
virtue and Christian living of undoubtedly good 
men o( the past, who nevertheless often came 
home decidedly the worse for the social glass 
always offered at weddings or any social gathering. 
It was at that time the custom, as it indeed 
still is in parts of Ireland to-day, to distribute 
"tokens" or little pieces of metal before the 
communion to those qualified to go to the Lord's 
table. The minister before the quarterly com- 
munion distributes these ' ' tokens, " going with an 
elder from house to house. At each house some- 
thing was offered to drink, and alas! many a time 
the days before the communion found excellent 
men of really godly disposition confused and dis- 
turbed if not actually intoxicated in consequence of 
the necessity laid upon them of accepting this mis- 
taken hospitality. Against this evil my grand- 
father, William Hall as an elder protested. And al- 
though he was not himself a total abstainer in the 
technical sense, he impressed upon his boy John the 
sense ofthe evils of intemperance, and led the young 
student to give much of his time both as a young 
man and later on in life to temperance reform. 


My father wrote once what he called a "tem- 
perate autobiography " in explanation of his 
stand in this matter. He did not sympathize 
with the political extremists in his American life, 
and to some degree the "autobiography" was 
in answer to criticisms upon his position. I 
venture to quote the article almost in full. 

" In good old times fifty years ago, informal 
hospitality took the frequent form of a ' glass of 
wine' or 'punch.' It was the handiest thing 
to offer a caller who came between meals. The 
farmers were civil to one another in the way of 
exchanging drinks at fair or market. Indeed, in 
many cases, this was the way in which they paid 
for the care of their horses: they 'put up' in 
the yard of such an inn, and it was the correct 
thing to ' take something for the good of the 
house.' In every parish one could name two or 
three farmers known to be 'too fond of a 
glass;' but the thing would not be much or 
severely spoken of. It was often the one blot on 
the life, otherwise exceptionally good and kindly. 
Boys were not encouraged to drink; and com- 
monly did not. 

"At college, at the age of thirteen, I heard, now 
and then, of a student who took drink to excess. 
Sometimes they were what we called the ' mad- 


icals.' Illustrating the differences in habits in 
different countries, for a man to be known as 
taking 'oyster suppers' then imperilled his 
reputation. They were a form of costly luxury, 
indulgence in which was suspicious. We were 
few of us rich. We all paid our own way, and 
our class fees, and most of us learned two things 
— the value of a shilling, and the habit of self- 
reliance. The only temperance advocates of 
whom I had then any knowledge were three; 
first. Father Mathew, who, from 1840 onward, 
made himself felt in Ireland; then Lyman 
Beecher, whose ' six sermons ' had been brought 
to my notice by Dr. John Edgar, the third, and 
who ardently urged temperance as distinguished 
from total abstinence. Though he took no 
wine himself, his arguments and societies were 
against the use of 'intoxicating liquors,' and he 
did not put wine among them. The first I only 
knew by public reports; the second by the 'six 
sermons;' the third I often heard, and later 
came to know intimately. He was a noble, elo- 
quent, public-spirited man. 

" Before graduating I lived for eighteen months 
in the house of the teacher at whose school I had 
prepared for college. I was classical master. 
Friendly entertainments were common, for he 


was well-to-do and hospitable. From the influ- 
ences already named 1 took no drink at dinner, 
the way being, on these occasions, to remove the 
cloth, and set down wines and stronger drinks, 
sugar and hot water. I recall with gratitude the 
kindness of his wife who used to 'slip' before 
me delicious raspberry vinegar, which, with 
sugar and hot water, looked as nice as anybody's 
'tumbler,' and saved the awkwardness of a 
very verdant youth tacitly rebuking his seniors. 
The hospitality was well meant, but bad in its 
effects. I can recall, among others, a man of un- 
doubted genius — for it requires genius to inspire 
boys of twelve with a love of Homer — whose 
professional career was marred by the habits 
there, at least in part, contracted. 

" Entering the theological college in 1845, 1 was 
a student under Dr. Edgar. Some ministers had 
been deposed for intemperance. A temperance 
society was formed; it is hard to say why, but 
my fellow-students made me its secretary. Its 
promise was against ' intoxicating drinks.' We 
were not bound against wine, but we rarely 
drank it; some from disinclination; some for the 
same reason that many estimable people here in 
New York do not eat terrapin. 

" We were practically total abstainers, but with 


a general idea that to include wine in our pledge 
would reflect upon names and institutions relig- 
iously dear to us. Then I became a minister, and 
of course had often to remonstrate with persons 
Vv'ho ' drank to be drunk.' Many of these were 
farmers, first in the West, and then in the county- 
town of my native county. A sturdy farmer of 
my charge would fall under my eye, on the mar- 
ket-day, when he would rather not have seen 
me. Talking to him then would have been un- 
wise. Taking him in a calmer mood and a 
quieter place I would make my kindly protest. 
These men are commonly honest and frank, and 
I always liked them for it. ' All very well, for 
you, Mr. Hall,' (I had not been doctored then), 
'to talk that way. You can take your wine. 
We can't do that ; we take what we can get, and 
it is stronger.' So he would answer. 

"Then it was — over thirty years ago — that I 
came to say: 'Well, I rarely take it, but to take 
that ground from under your feet, here, now, I 
abstain from wine, too, as a beverage,' and I 
found the appeal so made had its weight with 
them. I found others of my friends pursuing 
the same course, and also putting it from their 
table, and ceasing to offer it to friends. When 
we said ' as a beverage ' we meant to exclude 


the communion wine and the medicinal use of it, 
and on that ground my old associates in Ireland 
still stand." 

The enthusiasm of the temperance band men- 
tioned above for temperance reform finds expres- 
sion in the correspondence of that date. 

Slavery was not a burning question in the 
north of Ireland, but it was one of the issues 
forced upon England by the evangelical revival, 
so in Ireland also meetings were held to denounce 
slavery and encourage the " underground rail- 
road " in America in its operations just then be- 

This "heresy," for so it also was deemed by 
the older orthodoxy, my father also embraced, 
and this interest together with the missionary 
enthusiasm soon led to a correspondence with 
Mr. George H. Stuart of Philadelphia, his distant 
cousin and lifelong friend. 

Perhaps, however, the most signal note of the 
marked connection between the evangelical 
movement and this religious interest was the 
emphasis early placed upon teaching. Just as 
the Methodist movement began by starting 
schools, so the missionary activity of the new 
spiritual life in the north of Ireland was shown 
in the desire to bring spelling and reading within 


the reach of even the poorest, whether Protestant 
or Catholic. This firm confidence that education 
must bring the truth of God to light, and a cer- 
tain fearlessness born of the assurance that the 
truth will stand examination marked the whole 
tone of Dr. Cooke's and Dr. Edgar's teachings; 
it also controlled wholesomely their ecclesiastical 
policy, but has not always found imitators. 

This same Protestant spirit also marked the 
temper of my father. He felt that even danger- 
ous teachings must be duly and fairly examined, 
then answered and exposed. In this spirit and 
under the guidance of Dr. Killen he made as a 
student an examination of the Jesuit movement, 
and produced an essay that gained recognition 
by taking of a prize. The fairness and calmness 
of the treatment of this topic by a boy in the north 
of Ireland at that day is a quite remarkable evi- 
dence of the sanity of the historical class-room. 
Naturally the literature at hand was limited in 
amount and defective in accuracy; at the same 
time the spirit of the essay is scholarly and al- 
though of course intensely Protestant is free 
from the fanatical perversions all too common in 
even mature polemical writing. 

The personal religious life of the day was also 
strongly under the influence of the evangelical 


modes of expression. The eager, sober-minded 
student, hardly started upon the ministry before 
a diary was opened in which religious experience 
and the results of careful self-examination are duly 
noted. Later side-notes mark the distrust my 
father felt of this excessive self-examination 
made common by the Methodist class-room. At 
the same time what has for us at this day an air 
of unreality if not of positive cant, was without 
question the sincere and earnest expression of 
powerful longings, not always happily expressed, 
for a more profound spiritual experience, and a 
higher personal attainment in holiness. 

Another mark was the religious poetry in 
which all the friends seem to have more or less 
indulged. In undergraduate days my father 
filled a note-book with somewhat indifferent, yet 
harmless and even smooth good English verse. 
Later he brands the volume as "trash" and 
marks the fact that now he despised what he then 
admired, and disclaims particularly some very 
harmless verse in honor of a young lady related 
to him and an old family friend. From this on 
the verses are religious in character, though the 
literary quality does not improve. In his later 
studies of English literature the student again re- 
turned to secular themes, and often my father has 


told me that verse making was in his judgment a 
fine training for the rhythm and balance needed 
in a rhetorical pulpit style. He continued also 
the habit gained from his father of learning 
poetry, and although he seldom quoted it in his 
later years, his early sermons have frequent quo- 
tations included, and indeed so many are closed 
with a selection of poetry that it seems almost to 
have been a habit in early life to do this. 

At this time the young student's taste seems to 
have been for the rather morbid religious poetry 
of the evangelical revival, and for Byron. He 
did not own Shakespeare, but at his boarding- 
house in Belfast the works of the master were in 
the dining-room. School duties kept him up to 
dinner-time, or nearly so, and he went directly 
from the school where he taught to the boarding- 
place. There in the few minutes that elapsed 
before the meal was ready he succeeded in read- 
ing the whole edition through. The class-book 
notes of some of the college afternoon sessions 
are enriched by eager imitations of the dramas 
that had been thus devoured while he was wait- 

Life early became a very sober reality for the 
eldest boy in a large family. The head of the 
household was most evidently failing rapidly. 


Both father and son were eager to see the college 
and theological courses completed. For the 
father this was not quite to be. On the 20th of 
September, 1848, the son was suddenly called to 
say farewell to his best earthly friend. He had 
reached home in time, and in a letter to his friend 
Matthew Kerr he announced his loss. The letter 
is mature for a lad of nineteen in the midst of his 
first real and terrible sorrow. He writes : 

45 Joy Street, 
September 26th. 
My Dear Matthew : 

The event which has stained this paper (the black border) 
has been the cause of my long silence at which you no doubt 
wondered. On Saturday fortnight I was written for to see my 
father, and till he had passed into a world without sickness or 
pain I sat by his bed, rejoicing that in him patience had (done) 
its perfect work. . . . After this he had no pain but 
what followed from weakness and exhaustion and on Tuesday 
night last slept in Jesus. The day before I got home he had 
" set his house in order," and after that act he spoke and 
prayed as one who had no more to do with the world. He was 
able to converse freely till the last, and his conversation was 
in heaven. We had made it a subject of prayer that he might 
have such glimpses of the glory that shall be revealed as might 
entirely wean the affections from earth — was that right? At 
any rate, it would appear to have been granted, as he spoke of 
the last enemy with perfect composure, talked of his change 
with joy though we all wept around him, and appeared to have 
much of the assurance of faith. On my offering him a little 
wine at one time he said he should soon " drink new wine in 
our Father's Kingdom," and when I asked him had he no fears 
for eternity, his answer was " Who is he that condemneth ? It 


is Christ tliat died, etc." I liave reason to bless God that I was 
able to talk with him as one friend to another for it seemed as if 
the relations of father and son were at times forgotten and we 
became equals in Christ. On Friday most of our congregation, 
of which he was the oldest elder, though but fifty, and very many 
friends of all denominations accompanied all of him that was 
mortal to the house appointed for all living. The text of a 
funeral sermon preached yesterday was appropriate, " The 
righteous hath hope in his death." ... I hope you 
will write to me soon. I trust I am not repining although I 
feel very lonely and melancholy, at times I cannot repress a feel- 
ing of desolation — but I bless God that I need not sorrow as 
those who have no hope. If you would learn divinity go to 
the deathbed of a believer, if you would know the meaning of 
Christ's being precious see a believer looking death in the face. 
If you would see the sufficiency of the doctrine of free grace to 
support and comfort in the last struggles hear a believer's dying 
words. My father's were " I die happy." This he repealed 
suddenly as if some new idea had flashed on his mind. After 
this he only repeated with difficulty " Why tarry the wheels, 
etc.," and soon after murmured with difificulty "joy unspeakable 
and full of glory ! " and soon slept away. Dear Matthew, 
" may you and I die the death of the righteous, and let our 
latter end be like his." . . . 

Ever affectionately yours, 

J. Hall. 

This death meant very serious struggle with 
uncertainty and various calls of seeming duty. 
The family was not rich. The teaching that had 
so largely been supporting the student had been 
given up to go to the sick bedside. And a call to 
go to work in Connaught had been pressed in- 
directly by some interested in the schools there. 


The mother was firm in her intention to have the 
study for God's ministry unbroken. The place 
in the school was kept open, and my father re- 
turned feeling that he could be more use to his 
brothers and sisters if he completed honorably 
his course of study. It was with heart heavy 
with a sense of responsibility for the whole family, 
a burden never laid down while life lasted, that 
the bereaved boy returned to Belfast to take up 
the final duties and decisions of a last year of the- 
ological education. 

The band of students had settled upon their 
youngest member to represent them on the mis- 
sionary field of Connaught. Matthew Kerr and 
Hamilton Magee were already at work, and with 
much misgiving and fear and trembling the de- 
cision was accepted as "from the Lord," and the 
immediate future was thus determined. Al- 
though with a large measure of self-control my 
father was really a shy and self-distrustful man. 
He was also proud in the best sense of that word. 
Self-respect was born in him, and no virtue has 
shone more clearly in the stock from which he 
sprang. He greatly dreaded the coming plunge 
into active life. He dreaded meeting new faces 
and new ways. And yet through his shy self- 
distrust there breaks from time to time the sense 


of strength and confidence in his cause and in 

He passed out from the college with the love 
and respect of all his classmates, and the high 
regards of his instructors. With Dr. Edgar and 
Dr. Killen his relations became those of intimacy. 
With Dr. Cooke he always felt a sense of "dis- 
tant awe," he once remarked, and although the 
relations remained cordial up to the parting, when 
death took Dr. Cooke, yet some differences of 
judgment in regard to ecclesiastical politics pre- 
vented, in addition to great differences in age, 
the same intimate relations that marked the 
friendships with the others. Moreover Dr. 
Cooke was in these last years not very active as 
a teacher, and only in his ministry and in a class 
in Bible exposition did my father come much in 
contact with the great leader to whom Irish Prot- 
estantism owes so great a debt. 



Weaker than a bruisM reed, 
Lord, I go Thy cause to plead ; 
Thou my guide, ray helper be, 
Jesus, Saviour, plead for me I 

Though I meet contempt and scorn 
I'll recall what Thou hast borne ; 
Thou hast shared in failure's lot. 
And Thine own received Thee not. 

Give me, Lord, Thy humble mind, 
Make me courteous, meek and kind. 
What I need do Thou impart. 
Help me reach man's hungry heart. 

Grant me, as in utmost need 
For Thee and Thy cause to plead ; 
Should my voice still powerless be, 
Jesus, Saviour, plead for me ! 

— J. H. in Missionary Herald, i85o. 





ALL the evils of wrong social adjustment in its 
many forms have made themselves seen in 
fearful vividness in Ireland. The distances be- 
tween the owners and the workers of the soil 
have been made felt by differences in religion, 
custom, race and even tongue. In the change 
from an agricultural to an industrial state England 
suffered bitterly, but she had coal and made the 
change to her advantage in the main. Ireland 
had no coal. Blundering and even purposely 
selfish laws had wiped out what industry Ireland 
possessed. Only in the north of Ireland, — where 
relative homogeneity of population, a greater 
intelligence, Protestant freedom and the nearness 
of English coal gave industry a chance to survive, 
did the population really prosper. 
In the south and west the introduction of the 

potato made existence possible for a large pop- 


ulation, but it also excluded any thought of 
proper progress. No section was more depend- 
ent upon the potato than the beautiful but poor 
province of Connaught, and no part of that prov- 
ince is poorer than the southern section immedi- 
ately between the Shannon and the wild Atlantic. 
Here in 1846 the blight that fell upon the potato was 
felt at once. Hunger stared the peasant in the face. 
Dr. John Edgar, professor of divinity at the 
Royal college of Belfast, was at that time in Con- 
naught making an evangelistic tour. He was 
the first to sound the alarm of coming famine in 
a letter which had an enormous circulation. The 
interest aroused in Belfast was, of course, very 
great. In a letter to the Banner of Ulster Dr. 
Edgar wrote of the population: " The great pro- 
portion of them live on a bare and unproductive 
soil; a few are possessors of as fertile a land as 
was ever warmed by a genial sun. But what 
can a farm of three or four acres — the average 
size over large districts — do for the support of a 
family ? Oats grown on it all, without any pas- 
ture for the lean ass, man's faithful servant here, 
would be far, indeed, from producing, in meal, 
a sufficient supply, even were the landlord to 
forego his whole claim. The potato, therefore, 
has been the only resource, and in most cases 


without any addition but salt, or as a luxury salt 
fish, their only food. Corn mills are for the rich, 
and even the old querns,' once turned by the 
hand of the poor, are of no use now; for the pig 
so carefully reared, and all the corn, scarcely suf- 
fice to satisfy the landlord's demands." 

The awful year of famine was followed by a 
year of hunger typhus. The famine had not, of 
course, touched the richer land-owning classes, 
but the fever did, and in 1848 their resources 
were strained and financial disaster followed for 
them. Ruin passed from family to family over 
the whole south and west of the country. 
Then to crown all in 1849 cholera made its ap- 
pearance and stalked amidst the hunger-racked 
peasantry, and the now bewildered and dis- 
heartened gentry. 

It was only natural that the Student's Mission- 
ary association, with Dr. Edgar as the leading 
spirit, should turn to distracted Connaught for 
their field of labor. So it came about that the 
association chose one of the youngest graduates 
of 1849 to follow some friends, sent the year 
before, into the work of home missions in the 
west of Ireland. 

> Quern was the coarse hand-mill used to grind the corn for 
distilling purposes. 


It was thus in the summer of 1849, on the 6th 
of June, that my father started on the long 
journey, of those days, for Connaught. The 
mail coach left Belfast very early in the morning, 
but only part of the way could be travelled by the 
mail coach, hence a car was used from Cloue to 
the final destination. 

It was with great fear and trembling that the 
raw and shy lad fresh from college undertook the 
work. Letters of that period speak of long and 
prayerful consideration. Self-distrust and fear lest 
the cause should suffer through inexperience 
or want of thought made the young student hes- 
itate longer than Dr. Edgar thought right, in un- 
dertaking the commission of the students. 

The examination before the presbytery had 
been satisfactory, although shyness had been so 
marked in the sermon which had to be preached, 
that one of the older members in kindly fashion told 
the young preacher he would get more help look- 
ing into the eyes of those he was speaking to than 
by trying to bore a hole in the roof with his eye. ' 

The work Dr. Edgar had started in the west of 
Ireland consisted largely in schools of an indus- 
trial as well as religious character. He had seen 

' The first actual sermon preached was in the little school- 
house at Ballygorman — his old home. 


that the population must learn to support itself, 
and that particularly the women must be taught 
some useful art. Thousands of the young men 
were already leaving the countryside. Women 
and girls were left. Knitting and embroidering 
linen were the household arts of the north of 
Ireland. An association was formed in Belfast 
of women to cooperate with Christian women 
over the west of Ireland in founding schools in 
which reading the Bible and knitting and em- 
broidery formed the threefold course. In this 
school work teachers were employed, but volun- 
tary effort was also engaged. 

My father had had, for so young a man, a wide 
experience in teaching. As a mere child he had 
taught a night class, as we have seen, in the 
kitchen of the old home. From that on he was 
engaged in teaching more or less steadily all 
through his course. In his college experience he 
had had to do with girls and young ladies, 
some older than himself. All this was of great 
help to him as he undertook his missionary work 
in Ireland. Often in after life he has said to me, 
"No knowledge or experience comes amiss to 
the preacher." 

His work was the inspection of schools, preach- 
ing at various stations, distributing tracts, visit- 


ing the people at their homes, and establishing 
Sunday-schools. He rode a good deal from 
place to place, and preached as often as a service 
could be arranged. The nearest larger centre 
was Boyle, and headquarters were near Camlin. 
Here the schools had had the earnest and untiring 
support of Mrs. Emily Irwin, the lifelong friend 
of Dr. Edgar. From the very beginning of the 
work a warm friendship was established be- 
tween Mrs. Irwin and my father. Mrs. Irwin 
had been married very early in life, and very 
early had been left a widow with three little boys. 
The affection between my father and Mrs. Irwin 
ripened into love, and very soon a practical en- 
gagement was concluded. The union was a most 
fitting one, and like interests and tastes made the 
relationship a sweet and blessed partnership in 
the life work of the ministry. Mrs. Irwin had 
offered a site to her own church — the Established 
Church of Ireland — for a school, but this offer 
was refused. Dr. Edgar however accepted it, 
and secured hearty support of his work in Cam- 
lin from the whole Irwin relationship. These 
schools were productive of a vast amount of 
good, and years after in the far west of America 
prosperous farms and comfortable homes told of 
the good the instruction in these schools had done. 


One of the little band of college friends, the 
Rev. Matthew Kerr, was at work at Dromore 
West, some distance from Boyle, and another, the 
Rev. Hamilton Magee, was engaged at some little 
distance from Dromore. It was therefore one of 
the pleasures of the work that an occasional day 
could be spent together. Thus on the i8th of 
June is an entry in a day-book, kept rather irreg- 
ularly: — "Came home Sunday night wearied 
from preaching, but did not go to bed. At three 
o'clock A. M. rode to Boyle, by mail to Ballysodere 
— thence by coach to Dromore to meet my dear 
friend Matt. Kerr — all day there — saw 'the 
Tower ' and in the evening joined by Hamilton 
Magee — happy." 

The ordination as missionary took place in 
October in Ballina where the presbytery met in 
1850, and by that time the work of the district 
was in fullest activity. The discouragements 
were however great. Many were leaving for 
America. Land was rising again in rental price 
from the efforts of English undertakers to in- 
crease the size of holdings and use the land for 
pastorage. Nor was the reception on the part of 
the Roman Catholic priest cordial. They looked 
upon the whole movement as an attempt to take 
advantage of the needs of the people to proselytize. 


The work although done by Presbyterian min- 
isters was in some sense undenominational. 
Money was contributed to the school work by 
Methodists, Episcopalians and especially by 
Quakers. The instruction was simple and 
mainly in the reading of the Bible. Even Roman 
Catholic teachers were employed, and no pressure 
was brought to bear on either parents or chil- 
dren to become Protestants, save only as the in- 
struction in reading the Bible tended that way. 
Yet it was distinctly not only a Protestant but an 
evangelical work and as such had the natural op- 
position of the priests. 

Nor were the priests the only ones to resent 
the movement. The High Church party of those 
days was rather the party of Laud and the " high 
and dry' Anglicans of English History, than 
what we now understand by the term. For this 
type of thinking the Presbyterian Church was 
more unsympathetic than the Roman communion. 
The Established Church was sharply divided into 
evangelical and High Church parties. The evan- 
gelicals eagerly assisted in all the work of the 
schools, and indeed in most cases had charge of 
them. The rector and curate, however, of Boyle 
fiercely resented the intrusion of Presbyterian 
preaching. In a letter dated June the eleventh. 


1850, my father writes to his friend the Rev. 
Matthew Kerr: 

"My Dear Matthew: — 

" I fear you think I was 'stiff ' in the matter of 
your ' soiree.' No, no, I really could not go. 
About that time the Boyle clergy were preaching 
against me, and one of the sermons I am told is 
in the press. The result will, I trust, be most 
beneficial to us. It was meantime diminished 
by half our Boyle congregations; one of the 
curates actually walking before the chapel, and 
turning the people back. But it has confirmed 
many of our higher class hearers who won't be 
frightened and who come out here (Camlin) to 
show their sense of the wrong done us. The 
curate in one sermon, without any names, com- 
pared me to 'Absalom (!) stealing the hearts of 
his Israel,' and warned them against being led 
away by ' youthful zeal, etc' On Monday week 
a missionary Church clergyman, a rector in 
County Longford, visited Camlin, where I dined 
on the day of his arrival to meet him. I asked 
him to lecture for me next evening, which he 
did. 1 conducted the services and he preached. 
On Thursday he went into Boyle with me and 


was a hearer in our congregation. This has set 
all the High Church element about Boyle into the 
most violent ferment, and they talk of ' bringing 
him over the coals ' for it." 

On the other hand the relations with the 
Wesleyans and the evangelical section of the 
Established Church were most cordial. The 
superstition of the people was very great. At 
one time a priest denounced from the altar with 
great violence my mother who was exceedingly 
active in the school and relief work. That week 
she was taken very ill with fever, and for some 
weeks lay at death's door. The interpretation 
put upon the incident was in danger of really in- 
juring the school work, when the priest himself 
took ill. He, poor fellow, died of the disease 
and my mother fully recovered. The supersti- 
tious people now reversed the judgment and saw 
in the circumstance a direct endorsement of what 
the poor priest had denounced. 

Another discouragement was the political con- 
dition. The fierce resentment of the oppressed 
Irish poor sought political utterance. The leaders 
were however, naturally, not of the highest class, 
and political violence and short-sighted demands 
united the landowning and intelligent classes in a 
resistance to the peasant movement which in- 


eluded many reasonable demands as well as the 
unreasoning violence. The condition was de- 
plorable. Dr. Edgar himself described it vividly 
in a letter to the Banner of Ulster. "The real 
fact of the case is this: — The poor Connaught 
man eats none of his own corn, none of his own 
butter, pig, all go to pay his rent; and whatever 
potatoes remain after the pig is fed, are the only 
food, the only support of his family." He also 
defended in the same letter the character of the 
Connaught peasant. "It is a libel," he wrote, 
" on the poor Irishman to say that he is too lazy 
or too savage to seek for better food than pota- 
toes. His only nourishment is potatoes because 
the other products of his farm, go to his landlord, 
and because potatoes are the only crop sufficiently 
productive to save himself and his family from 

Around Camlin the poverty was not quite so 
great as in some other districts, yet on the whole 
the poverty was deep, settled and extreme. The 
Mayo district Dr. Edgar in another place describes 
as follows: "When distress comes on a man in 
humble life here, (the north of Ireland) he has 
some little store on which to draw — if not money 
at least furniture, or extra clothing, which he can 
place in pawn; but the Connaught man has no 


clothing but what he wears; and as for furniture, 
you might enter house after house in Connaught, 
as I have done, and find no table, no chair, no 
cupboard, no bedstead, deserving the name, no 
spoon, no knife, no anything, except a square 
box, and a potato pot, which a pawnbroker 
would not take in pawn. In fact a large propor- 
tion of the houses are not fit for anything that 
we would dignify with the name of furniture. 
They have no chimney, no window; their floors 
are fearfully damp, their roofs are often not 
water-tight, and the general custom is to have 
cow, pig, ass, and geese, all in the same apart- 
ment with the family — all sleeping together, and 
all going in and out by the same door." 

Amid such scenes the work was often depress- 
ing in the extreme, and in the notes and verses 
of this period there is reflected at times the wear- 
iness and heartsickness such poverty and blank 
ignorance must produce. 

The cheerful home in Camlin was a pleasure 
that could only be enjoyed at intervals. The 
first year and a half were spent in unceasing in- 
spections of schools and preaching at stations 
often widely apart, with the congregation at 
Boyle always demanding steady attention. Then 
study had to be kept up, and late hours became 


the rule. At last health began to suffer, and the 
diary begins to note the fact that bed had to be 
sought earlier, and work had to be done in the 
morning. Yet up to very late in life the habit of 
my father was to do much of his work late at 
night. The house was quiet, callers did not dis- 
turb, and far on into the small hours the busy 
pen kept rapid pace on the paper. 

In Connaught the habit was formed of writing 
for the weekly papers. Under a pen-name week 
by week a poem or letter appeared in the local 
county paper. And the editor of the Roscommon 
and Leitrim Gazette as well as the Irish Mes- 
senger soon found out that a young correspond- 
ent was writing things their readers were glad to 
get. Under the letter "P" or the signature 
"Autos " religious poetry and devotional articles 
found ready access to the columns of the local 
papers. Quite independently of the venerated 
Dr. Theodore L. Cuyler, my father discovered 
as Dr. Cuyler did what a source of power the 
weekly press, religious and secular, might be 
made. And all through his life he plied his pen 
freely. Many times in five different places an 
article would appear from his ceaseless pen in 
the same week. He realized himself that many 
of these had only temporary value. Again and 


again he refused to gather such writings into a 
volume, declaring that like his sermons they were 
meant for the occasion, and the better fitted they 
were for the occasion, the less fitted were they 
for permanent form. Of a number of such 
poems one obtained a wider circulation than the 
weekly in which it was published, and is char- 
acteristic of the religious poetry more common 
then, under the inspiration of Cowper, and many 
lesser poets now forgotten, than it is to-day. It 
is as follows: 


I marked a child — a pretty child 

A gentle blue-eyed thing; 
She sowed the scented mignonette 

One sunny day in spring. 
And as the tiny seed she sowed 
The streams of thought, thus sweetly flowed. 

" On thy dear bed the dew shall fall, 

And yon bright sun shall shine. 
'Twill grow and bloom and blossom then. 

And it shall all be mine." 
And the fair thing laughed in childish glee. 
To think what harvest hers would be. 

I saw a man an acorn plant, 

Upon the hillside bare ; 
No spreading branch, no shading rock 

Send friendly shelter there. 
And thus as o'er the acorn bowed 
I heard him — for he thought aloud. 


" Frail thing ! ere glossy leaf shall grace 

Thy stem or sturdy bough, 
I may be laid amid the dead 

As low as thou art now. 
Yet shalt thou rise in rugged strength 
And crown the barren heights at length." 

Each had a hope — the childish heart 

Looked to a summer's joy. 
The manly thought, strong and mature 

Looked to futurity. 
Each trusted nature's genial power. 
He sought a forest, she a flower. 

The unceasing activity and the energy of the 
young missionary had been noted, and already 
many who by chance had heard him had pre- 
dicted a wider range for his talents, but he him- 
self was contented with his work and refused to 
take any steps towards a change. When then 
it became known that his name was before the 
congregation of the First Church in Armagh he 
took pains to make it known that this was by no 
act or word of his. Then the church asked him, 
as was the custom, to preach in turn with a num- 
ber of others. This he refused to do. When 
asked however to supply the pulpit as the only 
one the church thought of, he did so, in no way 
committing himself to acceptance of any call 
should it come. In fact he wrote plainly, " I am 
not weary of my work as a missionary — nor can 


I move in the direction of leaving it unless the 
Providence of God seemed as plain as in leading 
me hither. Now I could not regard a place in a 
candidate's list such an indication of the path of 
duty." Family affairs called him to the old home 
in the County Armagh, hence it was natural and 
easy that he should supply the pulpit for two 
Sabbaths. This he did with the result that a 
unanimous call was extended to him to become 
the pastor of the church. The notice came on 
the sixth of January, 1852, that the hearty desire 
of the people was expressed in the call, and at 
once steps were taken to sever the relationships 
existing with the presbytery in Connaught to go 
to the new field of labor. 




O God, my good desires fulfill ; 

The bad do Thou restrain ; 
Reveal to me Thy holy will. 

And make my duty plain. 

Sustain me by Thy heavenly grace, 

And keep me in Thy fear ; 
Help me to run the heavenly race 

With Jesus ever near. 

O Christ, my all-wise Prophet, 

I sit down at Thy feet ; 
Teach me to do the Father's will. 

For heaven make me meet. 

O Christ, my great High Priest, 

Ascended now to heaven, 
On Thine atoning work I rest. 

To Thee the praise be given. 

O Christ, my glorious King, 

Thy law write on my heart ; 
And bring me to the heavenly home 

Where we shall never part. 

There let me sing the song of songs ; 

There let my praise be given. 
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 

The Trinity in heaven. 

For The Golden Rule, January 2, 1896. 





THE circumstances of the church life in the 
new field were entirely different from those 
of the missionary activity in the west of Ireland. 
The First Presbyterian Church in Armagh was 
second only perhaps to Mary's Abbey, Dublin, in 
the councils of the Church. The personal influ- 
ence of Dr. Cooke had made, indeed, his church 
in Belfast a leader in all good works, but the 
Armagh church had a long and honorable history 
that gave it a unique place. An able and godly 
ministry had preceded the vacancy of 185 1, but 
various reasons had made the later years of that 
ministry less effective in the country districts, 
dependent still upon the Church, than it once had 
been. The farmers of the so-called "town- 
lands" had been in the habit of making the gal- 
lery of the church their special place. This gal- 
lery had suffered sorely from the physical inabil- 


at Monkstown Castle, County Dublin, a younger 
daughter of an exceptionally large family. Her 
father was a Mr. Bolton, who married Miss 
Carpenter, who died in comparatively early life. 
Emily, who afterwards became Mrs. Hall, was 
educated in Dublin at a school superintended by 
an accomplished French lady. The Bolton family 
travelled a good deal in France and elsewhere, 
and in later years most of the members lived in 
England, although still retaining homes and prop- 
erty in Ireland. At a very early age Miss Emily 
Bolton was married to John Irwin, Esq., J. P., a 
landed proprietor in the west of Ireland, and 
settled at no great distance from the home of an 
older sister also married to a landlord in the 
neighborhood. Mr. Irwin died after a few years 
of happy married life, leaving his widow with 
three boys, one of them born after his death. 
Another sister of hers having married a brother 
of Mr. Irwin and hving in the neighborhood, and 
in the midst of a large connection of relatives, 
Mrs. Irwin continued to live in the family home 
which was pleasantly situated near the town of 
Boyle in the county of Roscommon. 

When the "famine" following what was 
known as the potato failure came, multitudes of 
the poor peasantry around were starving. Mrs. 


Irwin and her sister-in-law looked about to give 
some employment. Little could be done for the 
men, although the land-steward employed as 
many of them as could be well provided with 
work. At that time, however, a kind of em- 
broidery known as "sewed muslin work" was 
being done largely in the north of Ireland. 
Firms in Scotland furnished for this purpose the 
material and payed for the work. Mrs. Irwin 
decided on trying to introduce this work. This 
she succeeded in doing, and by the aid of the 
society in Belfast under the guidance of Dr. 
Edgar hundreds were in this way saved and 
given the means of earning an honorable wage. 

It was, as we have seen, in the midst of this 
activity that my father met the partner of forty- 
six years of joy and sorrow. Mrs. Irwin's sym- 
pathies were with the extreme evangelical 
wing of the Established Church to which she be- 
longed. Her loyalty to the Established Church 
was much shaken however, by the way in which 
the school work and the effort of the association 
in Belfast were met by the narrower section of the 
High Churchmen ; it was therefore an easy thing for 
her to throw in her lot with the Presbyterian faith. 
She did it intelligently and heartily, and faithfully 
served its interests as she conceived those interests 


to be identical with God's kingdom from tiiat 
time on. 

The wedding was a quiet one in June 15th, 
1852, at the Presbyterian Church in Kingston 
from the house of General Irwin her brother, and 
then after a short wedding trip the united life 
began in the Master's service. It was a family 
circle from the beginning, for not only were the 
three boys of the first marriage in the home, but 
also the youngest brother James, little more than 
a lad at that time, was still under his brother's 
care. Even in Connaught he had largely been 
with his brother. 

In Armagh were developed those powers as 
pastor and preacher which made the future 
career so fruitful. It was the habit of the little 
Belfast student circle, when members of it met 
to say half-play fully to each other, "Now, preach 
good sermons!" More than once my father had 
occasion to emphasize the character of the con- 
gregation, as one exceedingly helpful and stimu- 
lating. Many of those living in the city were 
thoughtful and highly educated people. On this 
account the substance of the sermon had to be 
such as would edify them, while the style and 
manner had to be simple enough for the thought 
to be grasped by busy farmers and their tired 


wives, whose opportunities for enlarging their 
vision were limited. 

To one member of that congregation my father 
felt himself deeply indebted on many accounts. 
He was a physician of high character and of emi- 
nent professional skill. He was more over a man 
of culture, and old enough to speak in a fatherly 
way to the young preacher. Profoundly attached 
to his minister, his years enabled him to give many 
a helpful piece of advice. This doctor in the 
providence of God was the means of saving the life 
of the third boy, and in gratitude for this, and many 
other services, the present writer bears his name. 

The need of the congregation was a closer 
touch with the outlying regions dependent on the 
Church. At once my father began that syste- 
matic visiting which marked his ministerial life 
throughout. He was in the habit of announcing 
a prayer-meeting in one of these districts on a cer- 
tain day and hour, having arranged with some 
household for the use of their largest room. Then 
he visited round about all the day, often taking his 
supper at some of the houses, spoke at the prayer- 
meeting, encouraged the people to attend regularly 
the Sunday services, and then made his way home. 

The note-books of those days are filled with 
such entries as, "Visit in IVIoneypatrick and 


preach same evening at house of Mr. , home 

at eleven." These prayer-meetings and extra 
preaching services were at first criticised as 
"Methodist" and quite " un-Presbyterian," but 
the results were soon seen in the gallery as well 
as on the floor of the Church, and week after 
week the congregations grew steadily and 
quietly, but with permanent strength. In all else 
my father's methods were inclined to be a little 
unsystematic. He had a remarkable memory, 
and could afford to trust it where others would 
have used some system. In his visiting, however, 
from the beginning he kept careful records and 
worked with steady and persistent system. 

In his later years he sometimes remarked that the 
difficulty of pastoral visitation had changed. In the 
Armagh days he needed tact and resource to pre- 
vent his visitation being purely official ministerial 
and professional. In those days it was expected 
that the children should be questioned, and say 
their catechism, and then the minister prayed with 
the household. In addition to this he desired to 
come as a friend, to share the social life and know 
the real needs of those to whom he ministered. In 
his later life the difficulty was the other way. He 
needed tact and resource to give his visiting the min- 
isterial and spiritual significance he coveted for it. 


The wave of religious life that had swept over 
England and Scotland reached Ireland somewhat 
later, but from time to time the feeling arose of 
new spiritual needs and of aroused spiritual 
hunger. Such an era followed the famine. The 
attempt was made in Ireland to carry the Gospel 
to all classes. In this work the young preacher 
took a deep interest, and the correspondence of 
1853 shows how active a part he took. Public 
meetings in behalf of the South of Ireland were 
held. These meetings were at times stormy. In 
a letter to his friend Matthew Kerr dated August 
17th, 1853, he writes: "The effect of the pro- 
ceedings in the South (the political outrages be- 
coming more and more common at that time) on 
our efforts in the North is bad. We had good 
order in Armagh till last Friday night when we 
were regularly mobbed here! This renders the 
effort unsavory with our fashionables; but it 
would never do to give violence a victory, so we 
try it again next Friday." Later letters speak of 
the "complete triumph of the cause" and of 
orderly meetings in behalf of the work in the 
south of Ireland. The relative failure of the 
evangelistic efforts of Protestantism in Ireland is 
due to the fact that Protestantism is identified in 
the minds of the common Roman Catholic peo- 


pie with an alien race and a hostile social class. 
The particular meeting that was mobbed was for 
the Hibernian Bible Society whose mission it was 
to circulate the Bible in the English tongue among 
all classes, and to carry on a work of evangeliza- 
tion among the Roman Catholics. The vigorous 
and aggressive Protestantism of the movement 
was however tempered by the kindly sympathies 
of those who were chiefly interested. Dr. Edgar 
always defended the Connaught Roman Catholics 
even when a lawless few were doing their worst 
to bring the whole countryside into discredit. 

In once urging in public speech the cause of 
Connaught Dr. Edgar said, " In acting thus 
kindly towards the people of Connaught, you 
will only be imitating the great kindness which 
the poorest among them would show you if you 
were living or travelling among them. In the 
midst of abject poverty and absolute destitution, 
their generosity and hospitality are most affect- 
ing. They make no inquiry whether you are 
Protestant or Roman Catholic: it is enough for 
them that you are a man and a stranger. With 
them. Stranger is a holy name, and whatsoever 
their house contains is at your service." 

Perhaps also no Protestant in all Ireland was at 
one time more popular in his way among the 


Roman Catholics than Matthew Kerr, and my 
father, with a deep-rooted horror of the errors as 
he saw them of Rome, and with a profound per- 
suasion that Protestants were ignorant of and 
careless about the dangers of Romanism, yet 
sought to be fair and generous in his controversy 
with them, and on more than one occasion fought 
their battle when he thought them being wronged. 
Hence, as generally happens, in such cases, he 
was in spite of his sturdy Protestantism believed 
in and greatly respected by his Roman Catholic 

In pursuance of the missionary purpose so re- 
cently implanted in the reinvigorated hfe of the 
church in Ireland, literary matter was in demand. 
Hence in 1855 my father took charge of The 
Children's Missionary Herald, and carried it on 
until i860, when he gave it into the hands of his 
friend Matthew Kerr, that he might be free for 
another literary enterprise along the same but 
larger lines in Dublin. In the October number, 
in 1858, was reprinted, bad spelling and all, a letter 
received from one of his Connaught pupils who 
had gone to America. The writer of the letter, 
a mere lad when he left Ireland, sent for his 
father and mother, and later for his whole family. 
The letter is in part as follows: "I wonder if 


you have forgotten me. 1 have been wishing to 
hear or get a few lines from you. You are as 
fresh upon my mind as when I left Camlin. O 
the kindness you bestowed on me — the pains you 
took in instructing me, when I was young and 
inexperienced, if I was to see you face to face, 
1 would be able to tell you how thankful I am to 
you. It is often when I am wandring through 
this wilderness of a country I pray that the bless- 
ing of God might be with you, and if it please 
God that I might see you here on earth, I will be 
able to tell you how happy 1 sometimes feel, and 
may the Lord grant that we may well prepare for 
that hour which no man knoweth save Him 
above. My dear friend, though the rowling seas 
are between us, do remember me and pray for 
me. ... In reguard to our living, we have as 
good a living hear as the richest man in that 
country. ... I kept your last letter in my 
pocket till it crumbled away. If 1 mistake not 
you asked me what church 1 belong to, I atach 

myself to the Methodest Church in , but I 

have a great liking for all Christian people." 
Some twelve years later my father did visit in the 
west of America the prosperous and well-to-do 
man, whom he had taught as a poor half-starved 
cowherd in the wilds of Connaught. 


In Armagh were born all the children save one 
daughter, born in Dublin, and besides the respon- 
sibility of his own family there fell on the 
shoulders of the eldest son the additional burden 
of his younger brothers and sisters. Cheerfully 
and lovingly all his life he was, as his youngest 
sister testified, more of a father than a brother to 
them all. 

Very early the parents in dedicating their eldest 
son to the ministry had desired that he should go 
as a foreign missionary, when the failing health 
of the father made it apparent that the eldest son 
would have more than usual responsibility. 
William Hall had said, " we cannot spare John, 
he must take my place," and this with loving 
fidelity and extraordinary wisdom for so young a 
head the eldest son did even in school and col- 
lege days. 

In Armagh he had the advantage of being 
nearer to the old home where his mother and 
brothers and sisters were, an advantage not to be 
despised in the days of slow and imperfect com- 
munication. The journey to the General As- 
sembly was in those days a solemn undertaking, 
and one who had been to England was a far- 
travelled man. 

What widened considerably however the ho- 


rizon in evangelical circles was the missionary 
literature, with maps of far-off lands, and accounts 
of strange races and foreign ways. It would be 
interesting to know how much England's col- 
onies owe to the missionary literature and mis- 
sionary efforts that awakened a curiosity in the 
minds of many young adventurers whose aims 
in travelling were not always the same as the 
missionaries who first gave the impulse to 
journey forth from the native place. 

In another direction my father's energies were 
thrown at this time. Even in college he had be- 
longed to a temperance circle, and now he flung 
his influence against one of the curses of Irish 
society, the excessive drinking of intoxicating 
spirits. Some of the best temperance tracts of 
that date are from his pen, and one or two had 
an enormous circulation. This movement was 
not popular. Many of the wealthiest Presbyte- 
rians made money in the traffic. There was no 
sentiment against the trade, and the conservative 
elements saw in the position taken a reflection 
upon the generation that had harmlessly indulged 
in the social glass. In spite of the offense he of 
necessity gave, my father continued steadily in 
season and out of season to urge temperance. A 
constant entry in his day-book is, "spoke at a 


temperance meeting in ttie township A.," or 
"urged temperance at the church of . . . ," 
and one time he notes the fact "exceeded the 
due limits of an address by speaking an hour 
and three-quarters on temperance." In after 
days he sometimes lamented the political temper- 
ance movement, and felt, as 1 understand Dr. 
Theodore L. Cuyler also feels, that the original 
temperance movement has been injured by the 
identification of it with political prohibition. 

In the autumn of 1859 my father took part in a re- 
markable religious movement that was connected 
with the north of Ireland specially. The religious 
awakening excited attention, and after it had 
gone on for some little time abuses began to be 
manifest. Against these my father and others 
raised their voices, as was fitting, seeing that 
they had had much to do with the situation. 
Yet many things took place which greatly dis- 
turbed him. Never again could he hail with the 
same zeal movements connected with excite- 
ment, which he recognized distinctly as physical. 
Indeed, 1 think, he was perhaps almost unduly 
prejudiced by the experiences of that year against 
similar movements later on. He wrote a letter 
to the Armagh Guardian, which is especially 
interesting, because it so exactly reflects his feel- 


ings all through his life. The letter was as fol- 

2ist September, i8^g. 
Dear Sir,— In the present deeply interesting state of a 
portion of the people of Armagh, may I venture to suggest to 
reflecting persons a few things that require to be considered ? 

1. When tourists, clerical or otherwise, come to the place, 
will it be wise to exhibit to them persons believed to have been 
visited by the Spirit of God ? In the nature of things this can 
only be done with those most likely to suffer, either by being 
tempted to self-complacency, or as has occurred elsewhere, to 
making a gain of godliness ? Should not intelligent persons be 
satisfied with their observations at meetings, and with the in- 
formation afforded them ? Who would covet a gratification at 
the risk of doing mischief in such a case ? 

2. Should young persons be put forward to speak in public, 
because recently converted ? what principle is in the apostolic 
words ( I Tim. 3:6) " not a novice, lest being lifted up with 
pride, he fall into, etc. " ? Would it not be much better to give 
sound scriptural instruction to these deeply interesting young 
persons ? 

3. Should any attention be given to dreams, trances, etc., if 
they appear here ? Should they not be treated as trifles to say 
the least of them, as compared with the real work of God's 
Spirit ? 

4. Should young people be encouraged to protracted meet- 
ings especially where no minister is presiding ? Or would it 
not be better to have meetings shorter and earlier, and if neces- 
sary to close business places earlier to give facility to attend ? 
Will not employers gain by any really good influence on the 
employed ? 

5. Can much good be expected from mass meetings and ex- 
cursion trains ? Would not the temptation to mere ephemeral 
excitement be more likely to abound on such occasions than in 
the quiet enjoyment of the ordinary means of grace ? Should 


any individual be encouraged to collect professedly religious 
meetings, for the order and decorum of which no one is respon- 
sible, while the character of a religious movement may be im- 
perilled thereby ? 

Reflecting people, by forming and expressing matured 
opinions on these and similar topics, may discourage and put 
down many things, over which Christians mourn as unhappily 
attaching themselves to a real and undoubted work of God. A 
deep interest in the Lord's work in Armagh induces me to 
submit the above questions to readers of your paper, to whose 
minds they may not otherwise have been carried. — Believe me, 
faithfully yours, J. H. 

With a growing family and a good many 
cares, witli an ever-increasing weight of responsi- 
bility in ecclesiastical matters, and a great deal 
of hard drudging work, my father yet always 
looked back to the days spent in Armagh as 
among the most profitable and happiest of his 

In the meantime the fame as a preacher of the 
young Armagh minister was spreading. In 
August, 1856, he had made a short trip to Scot- 
land and preached for an acquaintance in Glas- 
gow. He had hardly returned to Ireland before 
overtures were made to him looking towards his 
removal to Scotland. But in spite of the attract- 
ive nature of several such overtures then, as also 
later in his career, he felt that Scotland was well 
provided for, and that his duty lay elsewhere. 

In spite of the heavy duties of the Armagh 


pastorate outside interests were not neglected. 
Nearly every season a tour was made in the in- 
terests of the Deaf and Dumb Institution of 
Ulster. The Hibernian Bible Society had also a 
claim on his time, and he was frequently called 
upon to plead its claims elsewhere than in his 
own church. To the militia of Armagh he also 
acted as chaplain, and a list of the Protestants 
was carefully kept by him, and they were visited 
as regularly as his parishioners. 

The prayers of the years 1855 to 1857 abound 
with references to England's sacrifices in the 
Crimea and the Indian Mutiny. In those days 
it was my father's habit to write prayers which 
either opened or closed the sermon, and several 
longer prayers exist which he had written out in 
full. In these the soldiers fighting under distant 
skies were specially remembered, for the eldest 
stepson had gone as a young oificer to learn the 
art of war. This step was taken just in time to 
see the closing scenes of the Indian Mutiny 
1857-1858, and as a mother's heart followed the 
news of England's struggle, earnest prayers for 
the soldier's safety were mingled with the thanks- 
givings over tidings of success. Then as always 
Irish blood was flowing freely for the exten- 
sion and preservation of the Empire, and the 


North contributed her share to the armies sent 

It was characteristic then as throughout the life 
of my father that he was not strongly biassed 
politically. Naturally belonging to the liberal 
party, he yet took no active part in the political 
turmoil of those days, and this in spite of the fact 
that nearly all ministers of influence were then 
more or less inclined to political activity. Dr. 
Cooke had been as successful as a politician as he 
had been as a preacher, and many undertook to 
imitate his political methods without his judg- 
ment or his ability. Along this line my father 
never seems to have been tempted. Neither at 
this time nor later in life did he closely identify 
himself with any political party, and although 
great national interests, such as national educa- 
tion, temperance reform, industrial education 
called out his best energies, yet it was always 
distinctly as a non-partisan liberal. 

Particularly did he see in the advance of Pres- 
byterianism the highest good of Ireland. Almost 
anxiously does he canvass the situation in the 
correspondence of 1857 and 1858. The reason of 
this anxiety was not far to seek. The splendid 
religious impulse that had given the Irish Presby- 
terian Church some of her best leaders was in 


danger apparently of giving way to a satisfied re- 
action. The older men were either passing 
away, or were no longer in touch with new 
wants constantly arising on the horizon. The 
conditions, also, in Ireland had materially changed. 
The loss of upwards of two millions of her pop- 
ulation between 1846 and 1856 had made Ireland 
in many respects a different country. The North 
actually prospered under the changed conditions, 
for famine hardly touched her, and her shipping 
trade and cattle export were greatly improved. 
At the same time the changed conditions affected 
unfavorably — at least such was the judgment of 
many at the time — the higher interests. Particu- 
larly in Dublin did the leading men feel the diffi- 
culty of the situation. The correspondence 
between Dr. Hamilton Magee and his friends 
disclose some of the difficulties under which the 
religious work of the Church was done. At this 
time the leading Presbyterian Church in Dublin 
was called Scotts church, Mary's Abbey. Dr. 
William B. Kirkpatrick was the honored and 
scholarly minister. He however felt, together 
with others, that his strength was not equal to 
the holding of the congregation, and at the same 
time doing the work expected of the minister of 
such a church outside. 


Dr. Kirkpatrick was a student rather than a 
man of affairs and under these circumstances he 
and the congregation began to look about for one 
who should become with him a fellow-minister 
in the work of the Church. 

The choice fell at once upon the Armagh min- 
ister. Yet the grave question arose how any 
change could be made to seem right under the 
existing conditions. Financially such a charge 
in Dublin had no attractions, as the First Armagh 
was abundantly able and willing to provide faith- 
fully for its minister, and a divided responsibility 
can never seem as hopeful as where one is in the 
definite leadership. The situation was such 
however that the call was extended, and great in- 
fluence was brought to bear upon my father to 
cause him to go to Dublin for the sake of the 
Church at large. The leaders in Belfast also took 
this view of the case, and gave their help in per- 
suading the Church at Armagh of the wisdom of 
the change. 

It was in many ways a sore trial to the whole 
family. Armagh had become dear to both hus- 
band and wife as the birthplace of their children. 
The old manse was a real home ; no kinder peo- 
ple did they ever know than the Armagh friends 
of my parent's first ministry ; and in some ways 


it was even a pecuniary sacrifice to accept tlie 
place. At tile same time my father felt tliat the 
united judgments of so many demanded from 
him an affirmative decision, and with heavy heart 
he said at last, " Yes " to the invitation to go to 
Mary's Abbey. The birth of the youngest son in 
September, 1858, made the removal of the family 
only possible in October, but a few weeks be- 
fore that definite leave was taken of the kind and 
prosperous congregation who felt sorely the loss 
of one they had come to tenderly love. The 
future relationships between the Church and the 
former pastor remained ever most tender, and 
it was always with warm enthusiasm that the 
congregation was spoken of in the family circle. 



Father ! who hast in heaven Thy seat, 
All hallow'd be Thy name so great ! 
Soon may Thy peaceful kingdom come ! 
Thy will on all the earth be done, 
In cheerfulness and holy love 
As angels serve in heaven above. 
Bestow upon us what is good, 
And grant each day our daily food. 
As we forgive them who have sinned 
May we ourselves forgiveness find. 
Rough trials' paths let us not tread, 
And from all evil shield our head. 
For kingdom, power and praise to Thee 
Belong to all eternity. 
July, 1847. ]■ H. (Signed) "Autos." 




THE call of the congregation of Mary's Abbey 
is dated the 28th of June, 1838, and the 
arrangement included a division of the preaching 
labors between Dr. Kirkpatrick and the new as- 
sociate minister. The pastoral and other work 
was to be divided as best suited both ministers, 
and the division of labor aimed at giving both 
incumbents time for work outside the immediate 
church, Dr. Kirkpatrick being engaged in literary 
and particularly apologetic and polemic theology, 
while the younger strength was engaged in out- 
side work with reference to the Church as a 
whole. No formal arrangement was made. The 
call was extended as the usual call to a minister 
from the congregation, no reference being even 
made to the relations to Dr. Kirkpatrick. In 
spite of the strenuous efforts of the two men, 
whose warm friendship lasted through the life- 


time of Dr. Kirkpatrick, the arrangement had 
many disadvantages, and did not work well. 
With men less absorbed in the great interests in- 
volved, and in even slight degree thinking of 
themselves the plan would not have worked at 
all. Scholarly, thoughtful and refined as were 
the sermons of the older preacher, they lacked 
the popular clearness, and the warmth that made 
the younger man's ministrations acceptable to a 
much larger number. Dr. Kirkpatrick rejoiced 
in the success of the new voice, but it was not 
in his power to prevent unkind things being said 
by mischief-makers who would have gladly seen 
trouble between the two friends. The personal 
relations were however too sincere and too 
genuine to be thus disturbed. On Saturday 
nights they met together for prayer and study, and 
many times my father has spoken to me gratefully 
of the spiritual and intellectual stimulus gained 
in those meetings together. At the same time the 
experiment was one he never desired to try again. 
Mary's Abbey filled up rapidly, and in spite of 
a location altogether unfavorable, and a building 
far from meeting the needs of the congregation, 
the prosperity was apparent and real. In Dublin 
the same restless energy and power of unceasing 
work was displayed that had marked the pastorate 


in Armagh. As chaplain to Mountjoy Female 
Prison a great variety of human wants and woes 
had to be met and mastered. The weeks were 
few in which some article, tract or open letter 
did not appear. The Children's Missionary 
Herald was given up in i860, but only to make 
possible the editing of the Evangelical Witness, 
a monthly religious paper started shortly after, 
and which my father continued to edit until he 
left Dublin. To the outside activities of the 
church he devoted now a great deal of time. 
The evangelization of the West lay on his heart; 
the institutions for the orphans and the deaf and 
blind needed sermons and addresses to which he 
devoted much labor going from place to place 
until his voice and tall figure crowned by deep 
black hair was familiar in every little town in the 
north and middle west of Ireland, and his name was 
now known to Protestants all over the country. 

He was especially now sought as a temperance 
advocate. It was at that time neither usual nor 
popular for all clergymen to be pronouncedly on 
the side of temperance. Many a kindly warning 
did my father receive of the "injudicious " tem- 
perance agitation to which he was addicted. 
This was more especially the case because pow- 
erful Presbyterian interests were directly or in- 


directly engaged in the traffic. To tiie great 
credit of those interests be it said that in no 
quarters were my father's outspoken statements 
of his convictions more generously received. 
Those whom timid counsellors feared he would 
offend, admired him for his courage and faithful- 
ness, even where they were not convinced by his 
arguments or won by his persuasions, and be- 
came his lifelong friends. 

Among the many open questions in Ireland 
remains still that of education. The difficulty is 
one of ideals. The Roman Catholic Church cannot 
be content with anything less than full control, 
and this means, in the experience of the Protes- 
tant elements a dangerous popular ignorance. At 
the same time the Protestants are themselves di- 
vided. The Episcopal Church has an educational 
ideal not shared by the Presbyterians. The ques- 
tions at issue were even more sharply debated 
before the disestablishment of the Church in Ire- 
land in 1869-1871.^ It was as early as 1831 that 
as a result of the work of an educational inquiry a 
Board of National Education was established, 
with commissioners from various faiths.^ 

1 The bill was passed by Mr. Gladstone, the 26th of July, and 
took effect on Jan. ist, 1871. 

5 The first religious census in Ireland was taken in 1834, and 
according to it the population was divided as follows : 


The Board was at once furiously attacked by 
the Orange and extreme Episcopalian (Church of 
Ireland) interests. This was a most happy prov- 
idence, for this fact drew temporarily to the 
Board's aid the Roman Catholic sympathy. In 
accordance with directions from the government 
the education was to be wholly non-sectarian, 

The Established Church . . . 852,064 ' 

Roman Catholics 6,427,712 

Presbyterians 642,356 

Other Protestant Dissenters . . 21,808 


This census was probably grossly inaccurate. Dr. Killen im- 
pugns it in Reid's history of the Presbyterian Church as mis- 
representing the proportions (cf. vol. Ill, page 499, Ed. 1853). 
But in the writer's opinion, it also grossly exaggerates the total 
population, and is untrustworthy as giving data for computation of 
the number in Ireland. In 1871 an accurate census was taken 
with the following results : 

Episcopalians 683,295 

Presbyterians 503,461 

Methodists 41,815 

Independents 4,485 

Baptists 4,643 

Society of Friends 3.834 

Roman Catholics 4,141,933 

Thus Protestantism had in 1871, 1,260,568 and Roman Cathol- 
icism about four times that number. Of course famine and 
emigration weakened both Protestantism and Roman Catholi- 
cism, but Roman Catholicism suffered far more than Protestant- 


the reading of the Scripture was not to be enforced 
on unwilling children, but in accordance with the 
wishes of parents, religious teachers of various 
faiths were to have opportunity given them for 
the instruction in religion as favored by the 

As up to this time Episcopal parish ministers 
had had a most offensive power of interference 
with schools, established and maintained by 
private means in large part, and wholly attended 
by those of another faith, the extreme party in 
the Church resented fiercely the establishment of 
the Commission. It was, in fact, the beginning 
of the end. Step by step the power of the Es- 
tablished Church was curtailed until at last dis- 
establishment was an accomplished fact. One of 
the first commissioners appointed had been the 
scholarly and able minister of Mary's Abbey, 
Dublin, the Rev. Mr. Carlile. He was both 
popular and extremely orthodox, as that term was 
then used, yet he was very nearly subjected to 
churchly discipline for accepting the position. 
Only the fact of his very influential position, and 
that there were hopes — afterwards realized — that 
he would succeed in changing the plan of the 
Board of Education, saved his ecclesiastical life. 
For, alas, many Presbyterians were completely 


blind to the great step in advance such national 
education really was. For them the cry "God- 
less" and "irreligious" education had far too 
much weight. 

The attitude of Dr. H. Cooke — the "Cock of 
the North " was also a serious embarrassment. 
Dr. Cooke was a Conservative by birth, educa- 
tion and instinct. The existing state of things 
was for him d priori the right state of things. 
His policy had been to work with the Established 
Church, and he had been a good deal petted by 
the Tory and High Church elements. To him 
Trinity College, Dublin had given a degree, an 
almost revolutionary action in those days. He 
supported always the candidates set up by the 
Tory and landlord interests, so that Presbyterian 
and Liberal representation was at that time im- 
possible. Dr. Cooke opposed disestablishment, 
and actually in 1868 the Presbyterian Church ex- 
pressed modified disapproval of Mr. Gladstone's 
bill. He did not like the growing liberal party in 
the Presbyterian Church, and saw in National 
Board Schools a menace to the distinctively relig- 
ious education which was his ideal. In 1839 
there was, it is true, a compromise made between 
the Synod of the Presbyterian Church and the 
Government Board, but friction was not wholly 


overcome. The difficulties of national educa- 
tion were then enormously increased when 
after 1848 the Roman Catholic Church reversed 
its policy and denounced in unmeasured terms 
the whole scheme. 

In 1 84 1 two Synods of the Presbyterian faith 
came together, and formed the General Assembly 
of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. From that 
time on Presbyterian Liberalism began to work 
itself free from the leadership of Tory Protestant- 
ism. Yet the change was a gradual one. This 
was in part in deference to Dr. Cooke. The 
struggle over national education was still going 
on in 1858 when my father went to Dublin. As 
has been remarked he was no politician, yet he 
was a Liberal, and a rather pronounced Liberal on 
the education question. The older men looked 
to the coming younger man with much of hope. 
The stalwart and evangelical orthodoxy of the 
new voice that was being heard over all Ireland 
greatly encouraged those who dreaded the dead- 
ness of a past era. Unfortunately however the 
older orthodoxy was lukewarm in the matter of 
national education and was inclined to join hands 
with Tory and Orange extremes in opposition. 
The experience in the west of Ireland had greatly 
interested my father in education. He saw in it 


the one hope of the population. He did not 
underrate religious education, but he did not see 
how there could by any chance be "an Episco- 
palian spelling," and a " Presbyterian table of 
multiplication." He flung himself boldly on the 
side of national unsectarian education. Then 
when in i860, in accordance with the express 
wish of the Presbyterian church for a third Pres- 
byterian commissioner the place was offered to 
my father; he at once accepted, and became 
queen's commissioner of national education. The 
letter asking my father to join the board is as fol- 

Irish Office, 
ig Nov. i8bo. 
Dear Sir: 

When a deputation of the Presbyterian church did me 
the honor to call upon me on the subject of the addition, which 
it was proposed to make, to the board of education, one of the 
principal objects which they had in view was to obtain the ad- 
dition of a third Presbyterian commissioner. 

The Lord Lieutenant authorizes me to acquaint you, in his 
name as well as in my own, that the government are disposed 
to accede to their request and I beg to propose to you to join 
the board, and give to it the sanction of your name and your 

I remain, dear sir, 

faithfully yours 
Rev. John Hall. Edward Caldwell. 

For this step some who never openly attacked 
him never really forgave him. Moreover his 


vigorous defense of his position savored far too 
much of advanced radical views to suit those 
who were still in the armor put on for past 
conflicts. Particularly offensive to some was a 
"Very Short Catechism for Such as be of 
Weaker Capacity" which my father wrote at 
this time. It is as follows: 



A. Is it true that the Bible is shut out of the 
Irish National Schools ? 

B. No. It is in every school, where the man- 
agers wish it, and is read in many hundreds of 

A. But that is before or after school hours 
when of course no child would be silly enough 
to come ? 

B. Well you may try the thing by experi- 
ment, and in the Belfast Model School, e. g., or 
the Dublin Model School you can examine a class 
and compare the answering with that of any 
public Protestant school for the sons of the 
gentry, and you will find the Model School class 
the better taught of the two, which could hardly 
be the case if the children did not come. 

A. Still it is not in school hours ? 


B. What do you call school hours ? 

A. Well from 10 a. m. until 3 p. m. we com- 
monly call school hours. 

B. Just so. Then if you manage a school and 
fix the hours from ten to eleven for Scripture 
reading, would you say the Scriptures are not 
used in school hours ? 

A. Certainly not. I should be setting apart 
that portion of the school hours for Scripture, as 
I should set apart the next hour for spelling, or 

B. Which is exactly the course pursued in the 
national schools. You have only to define be- 
forehand the time you mean to employ in this 
way, and all the board requires is that there be 
adequate time for secular instruction. 

A. But Mr. Whiteside and others tell us every 
year that the Bible is shut out during school 
hours. Is not that very odd ? 

B. Very. 

A. How do you account for it ? 

B. Did I promise to account for it ? I do not 
attempt it. 

A. But they must have some show of argu- 
ment for this assertion > 

B. Suppose 1 order that geography shall be 
taught in my school from two till three only, would 


it be fair or true to say it is not taught in sciiool 
liours ? 

A. Surely not. 

B. Weil suppose in most schools the parents 
did not wish mathematics to be learned by their 
children, would it be fair to say that the board 
excludes mathematics ? 

A. No. It is the parents who effect the ex- 
clusion. They have only to ask for them 1 sup- 
pose, and the board will give every facility for 
their gratification. 

B. Quite so. And just so with the Scriptures. 

A. But it is very wrong of parents not to ask 
for the Scriptures. 

B. Of course it is. What shall we do with 
them then ? Tell them they cannot have read- 
ing, writing and arithmetic, without taking the 
Bible too? 

A. No, not exactly that. It would be too like 
Spain which won't give men civil rights, or even 
sepulchral honors, unless he will take the Catho- 
lic religion. 

B. Exactly, and we have got past that, at least 
since 1829. We shall never come to offer men 
gas, water, police-protection, civil employment, 
education scholastic or collegiate, on the inevita- 
ble condition of their accepting our religious 



books and teaching. In accordance with the 
genius of the free Protestantism of these kingdoms 
we have ceased to manufacture hypocrites and 
infidels in this fashion. Then what would you 

A. I would leave the people free to read the 

B. A very unassailable truism that. What do 
you mean by " free " ? Do you mean you would 
put Bibles in every school, if the children liked 
to have them without reference to the parents' 
wishes ? Then you would say to the promoters 
of a school, Gentlemen we give you a grant of 
books and salary, on condition this shelf of 
Bibles is in a conspicuous place in the school for 
every child that likes. Would you do that? 

A. That is not exactly what 1 mean. 

B. I should think not. Try the converse of 
it, and imagine the Roman Catholic Emperor of 
France giving aid to Protestant schools, only on 
condition that each school have a supply of 
Roman Catholic volumes. We should call that 
a mild form of intolerance, and should we not ? 
But pray explain yourself — what do you mean by 

A. Well 1 don't think a parent has a right to 
keep the scriptures from his child. 


B. Another impregnable position. He has not 
as regards God. But he has as regards you and 
me. He has no right to be envious, or covetous, 
to neglect praise and prayers as regards God, 
but he has as regards you and me. Would you 
think of Kerry, where there is not a Protestant 
school within five miles and the little Protestant 
is secured the advantage of a good secular edu- 
cation and the priest or the teacher cannot inter- 
fere with his faith unless by his parents' consent ? 

A. Oh ! I admit there are difficulties, but the 
fact is Romanism is getting it all its own way 
ever since 1829. 

B. Well now consider — what has most weak- 
ened Protestantism since that time ? Has it been 
concession to Romanists by "Liberals" or ap- 
proximation to Romanism by high-flying Prot- 
estants ? Is Protestantism more or less alive and 
energetic now than 1829? And would it be 
stronger now, had it retained legal ascendency ? 
Is there any way in which you can so weaken 
the hands of an enemy, and strengthen your 
own, as by doing him in all things the justice you 
claim for yourself ? 

A. Yes, but should a parent have a right to 
keep his child from reading the Bible ? 

B. Well try the other side of the case. Your 


little Dickey who has reached the mature age of 
nine and a half having the advantage of a devout 
Roman Catholic nurse gets fond of the wor- 
ship she practices, thinks the pictures fine, the 
music beautiful and the priest imposing, and an- 
nounces to you some fine morning his intention 
of commencing the study of Alban Butler's 
" Lives of the Saints "and begs you to procure him 
the "Key of Heaven" and the "Path to Para- 
dise." What would you do? 

A. Of course I would insist on teaching him, 
or having him taught the truth, till he came to 
years of discretion. 

B. Precisely; and for conceding exactly this 
to Roman Catholic parents, the board is annually 
abused and the abettors of it stigmatized by men 
who preach charity and counsel trustfulness as 
belonging to Protestantism. How could the gov- 
ernment adopt any other principle in schools than 
British law follows in all other matters ? Are 
the boys and girls to be constituted judges of 
their parents' capacity and right to rule ? Fancy 
Dickey telling you at breakfast, " Papa, you are 
incapable of being my governor, according to 
Lord Eldon and Mr. Whiteside, for you have de- 
nied the faith! " The thing is too ridiculous. 

A. But the government cannot — well at least 


the government is not a safe guide on this solemn 

B. Indeed. You can trust the government to 
manage the national church, but not the national 
school. The government can decide whether 
your bishop shall be evangelical or otherwise, 
and in multitudes of cases whether the sermon 
you hear shall be good or bad, but you will not 
trust the government to decide on the schools of 
the country. Either you should acquiesce here 
or begin reform farther back. 

A. I admit the difficulty. But it is very 
hard, is it not, that a Protestant clergyman 
must refrain from teaching the truth to his 
little parishioners at school, unless their parents 
wish it? 

B. Try the rule the other way then. Is it not 
very hard that M. the cure cannot teach his little 
parishioners the Romist doctrine in France unless 
their parents wish it? Don't we applaud this as 
toleration in France ? 

The importance of this position taken by my 
father in determining his future career justifies 
the insertion here of a condensation of an article 
which was one of his last and clearest utterances 
on this subject. It was a defense of the system 


of national education in Ireland and was headed, 
" What is ' Godless ' Education ? " 

" ' Godless' is not a complimentary adjective. 
Even the man whom it accurately describes does 
not wish it applied to him. A ' godless ' 
'wife,' a 'godless' 'community,' are undesir- 
able associations. To fasten the term to man 'or 
thing is to raise a strong prejudice against that 
man or that thing. One may be, by common 
consent, a practical atheist and yet unwilling to 
appropriate this reproachful epithet. 

"Rome has tried to fasten the epithet, 'god- 
less,' on all education that she does not direct, 
and to raise a prejudice against it. A true and 
strong human instinct demands that education 
should take account of God, and revolts from any 
that ignores Him. It is clever, therefore, if it 
were only also honest, to stigmatize any educa- 
tion which the Church does not direct as godless. 

sp 5f; ijc ip 2^ ^ 

"Now, let us see. Is this the ground of her 
complaint ? The British Government set up a 
system of schools and colleges where the best 
available teachers should give all denominations 
secular learning in common; where, at separate 
hours and in separate places, the clergy or other 
religious teachers approved by the parents should 


come and teach each his own co-religionists as 
much of his religion as they pleased. The Epis- 
copalian can then have Bible and prayer-book, 
the Roman Catholic his catechism and prayer- 
books, or any religious books he will, and the 
Presbyterian his Bible and Shorter Catechism. 
The only two rules are that no one shall be de- 
nied secular education on religious grounds, and 
no one shall be forced to learn tenets opposed to 
his own religion. But each denomination may 
make its own youth as 'godly' as it can. This 
seems fair and unobjectionable all round. But 
this was the very system that had the term ' god- 
less' applied to it, and which is still denounced 
and disliked by Roman Catholic ecclesiastics, 
though the laity have shown their estimate of its 
value to their children. 

"On this plan, under a Board of equal numbers 
of Roman Catholic and Protestant noblemen and 
gentlemen, the British House of Commons is ex- 
pending nearly |2,ooo,ooo a year in Ireland, but 
it is in continual practical war with the ecclesias- 
tics, who clamor, under every variety of plea, 
for a separate allowance of money — to be laid 
out by themselves. That the high officers, the 
inspectors, the managers of the training schools, 
are appointed with due regard to denominational 


representation, is nothing; that the books have 
everything offensive to any denomination ex- 
cluded, is nothing; that history is excluded be- 
cause history is hard to teach without touching 
religion, is nothing; that the Roman Catholic 
priest appoints the teacher, superintends him, and 
can dismiss him — all this is nothing; — the system 
is under condemnation, and the cry from 'the 
Church ' is for a 'separate grant.' 


" We doubt if any government ever made a 
more honest effort to educate a nation than that 
which is conferring inestimable blessings on 
Ireland, and no one thing has excited deeper re- 
gret among all true and intelligent lovers of that 
land and its people — among whom the writer 
claims a place — than the persistent Papal opposi- 
tion which has retarded, though it has not 
crushed, the educational advancement of the 

" It is idle to allege that infidelity springs out of 
all education which 'the Church' does not 
direct. Romish countries have as many infidels 
as Protestant. As many people— proportionally 
—in Spain, France, and Italy, disregard God as 
offered by Roman Catholic teaching, as may be 
found in Protestant lands disregarding God as 


Protestantism worships Him. Tliis fact no 
one can deny. It was not Protestantism that 
inoculated France with infidehty. 

" It is nothing to the point to parade the old 
argument that as the oldest colleges, like Oxford, 
were founded by Roman Catholics, therefore, the 
system must be favorable to learning. It was 
not for popular education they were erected, but 
for the education of the clergy and such as could 
afford to pay well for education. Nor can the 
Church claim much honor for originating these. 
The greatest friend of education, for many ages, 
was Charlemagne, who, by imperial enactment, 
ordained that bishops should erect schools near 
their churches and that monks should have them 
in their monasteries. How much external power 
is needed to stimulate Romish ecclesiastics in this 
direction, might be inferred from the fact that 
the more bishops and monks in any country, as 
a rule, the worse educated are the people. On 
the other hand, nowhere are the masses of Ro- 
man Catholic people so well educated as where 
they live among Protestants and under Protestant 

" Roman Catholics themselves have an interest 
in this question. They have derived immense 
benefit from the common schools, and could not 


gain anything — if all history is not a cheat — from 
their transfer, in any greater measure, to the 
Church. The whole community would be a 
loser, for it is for the public good that the people 
of different kindreds and tongues peopling this 
fair and broad land should coalesce and become 
one; and, if any denomination has reason to 
think its youth less instructed in religion than is 
fit, surely patriotic and candid men can find 
means to supplement the existing system. It is 
poor policy to pull down a good house for the 
sake of putting in an additional window." 

This shows the pronouncedly liberal position 
taken in days when religious toleration had been 
too much the monopoly of Quakers and Unita- 
rians. In fact the hearty support that the Unita- 
rians had given to the national education plans 
of the government had formed one reason for 
the suspicion in some Presbyterian quarters. 
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has long 
since begun to realize how important a step was 
taken at that time, and is also slowly awakening 
to the fact that larger views must be taken of 
Protestant opportunity, and Protestant inspira- 

The cry was raised that the Presbyterian 
Liberals were working hand in hand with the 


" papists," and that they were destructive radicals 
etc., etc. Against these charges my father wrote 
sharply and clearly, and did much to clear the air 
and define the issues at stake. Rational and pru- 
dent as seem his counsels now, in those days 
they excited the bitterest feelings on the part of 
some of his natural friends and allies, the theolog- 
ically conservative. He was accused of " trimm- 
ing," "working with both parties," and because 
he realized that a divided Protestantism meant 
permanent disability he was accused of seeking 
peace at the price of "convictions " as some dig- 
nified their poor little narrow prejudices. 

At last my father came out with a definite at- 
tack on the Tory tactics. In a rather long article 
reviewing the situation, he asked unpleasant 
questions about the real meaning of Tory com- 
plaints against the national schools. The article 
was regarded as an attack upon the long time 
practice of acting as a tail to the Tory kite in the 
supposed interests of Protestantism, and more 
particularly as the article took definite issue with 
the Orange Lodge and denounced its petty 
criticisms of Protestantism's enlarging horizon. 
He was then bitterly attacked, these political at- 
tacks did not weaken my father's position as a 


The "common people heard him gladly" and 
crowded congregations made Mary's Abbey al- 
together too small and too unimportant a build- 
ing for the uses of the church. It was very 
earnestly desired to have Presbyterianism prop- 
erly represented in Dublin. In fact the impor- 
tance of this was felt on every hand. As long as 
Presbyterianism was a local issue concerning only 
Belfast it could not do its work or command the 
support needed in spreading the gospel. The 
congregation did not feel, however, strong 
enough to undertake the raising of a new 
building. Just at this time Mr. Alexander 
Findlater came forward and offered to put up 
the building, if the congregation would secure a 
suitable site. This was done by buying a corner 
on Rutland Square where the building now stands. 
The following letter explains the generous con- 
ditions of the gift made at a most opportune 
time in the history of Dublin Presbyterianism. 

Alexander Findlater &> Co., 

30 Upper Sackville St., 
Dublin, 30 Jan'y, 1862, 
The Rev. John Hall, 

My dear Sir ; — I am glad that the ground for the new 
Presbyterian Church is secured, and as the congregation of 
Mary's Abbey have thus done their part of the work, I think it 
right to tell you that I am now prepared to perform mine. I 
had at first intended to have so far interfered in the proposed 


building as to employ the architect and approve of the plans, 
and then to have left the matter in the hands of the congrega- 
tion, but on consideration I have decided on refraining entirely 
from all personal interference in the work beyond the con- 
tributing the funds, and the only authority I ask to exercise is 
the nomination of a committee to whom I will delegate the 
entire control of the business, and at whose disposal I will 
place the funds as they may be required. 

I believe that in my first communication with you, I ex- 
pressed my readiness to give ;£^6,ooo to ;^7,ooo. To remove all 
uncertainty on that subject, I now beg to say, that I will give if 
required ;^8,ooo, and the only stipulation on which I will in- 
sist in return is that the ground and building shall be given up 
perfectly free of debt, so that the congregation shall be able to 
support their ministry liberally. 

Although the proposed church is intended primarily for the 
congregation of Mary's Abbey, yet my idea has been, (in 
which I believe the Presbyterian public concur) that it should 
be adapted for meetings of the General Assembly, and should 
in all respects by its architectural appearance, its position and 
internal accommodations, be a building worthy of the Presby- 
terian Body in the Metropolis, and therefore I think that the 
committee for carrying out these views, should not be composed 
exclusively of members of Mary's Abbey congregation, 
although I am willing that they should form the majority. 

I propose on the whole that the committee shall consist of 
five, namely, yourself as chairman (on which you will excuse 
me saying I must insist) Mr. Drury, Dr. Denham, Mr. Todd 
and Mr. Geo. Blood, and I will be happy to give you a room 
at 30 Sackville street as long as you may find it convenient to 
meet there. My dear sir, 

Yours very truly, 

Alex. Findlater. 

The fact that Mr. Findlater was the leading wine 
and spirit merchant in Dublin caused some com- 


merit, as he was one whom my father's temper- 
ance agitation it was feared might antagonize. 
And it is needless to remark that the temperance 
agitation continued unabated. 

The new building was entered in 1864 with ap- 
propriate services, and a great burden of new 
pastoral care came upon the ministry. Dublin 
was growing in all directions although not very 
rapidly and the congregation came from great 
distances. It was my father's habit to start out, 
going from house to house, where parishioners 
lived until he had reached the outmost limit, 
when he would often take an outside car home, 
or reversing the process he would select some 
farthest point and work his way back to the city. 

The first house was in No. 45 Eccles street, 
and afterward in No. 11 of the same street. 
From the rear windows of the last house the 
younger children many times watched the road 
along which the father might come, often bring- 
ing a few "sweeties," by which name candy was 
known in Ireland, for the comfort and delectation 
of the little ones. 

Many times in later life the remembrance of a 
large and well-kept garden in Dublin was a 
pleasure to my father. The head gardener of the 
Vice-regal Lodge was an old friend and insisted 


upon assuming the charge of this garden. 
Flowers, and fruits, a dove-cot and a greenhouse 
made it an ideal place for the children, who were 
encouraged to cultivate little plots of ground for 
themselves. Skilled gardeners came regularly 
and watched over the fruits and flowers; from 
them the children obtained plants and flower- 
shoots as well as directions as to how these 
should be cared. 

Often in later years my father sighed for a 
sight of green from his study window. Once 
he wrote while on a visit to Ireland: 

" Yes, this is my native land — these are my 
native fields. In New York, my eyes are often 
hungry for something higher than the top of a 
warehouse, or hotel, or church-spire, and some- 
thing more simple and varied than brown stone 
cut into fantastic shapes. Here they are ' satisfied 
with seeing.' Oh ! this delicious green — all 
green, yet not all the same green, for there is one 
green of the oats, and another of the grass, and 
another of the hedges, and another of the trees, 
and another of the flax, and over all 'the lark 
sings loud and high.' 1 now find one good thing 
has to Ireland come through our Fenian friends; 
and 1 cheerfully acknowledge it. The stir they 
made led to the 'proclaiming' of wide districts; 


and this rendered the possession and carrying of 
fire-arms more difficult; and this led to the 
diminution of 'gunning,' or 'fowling,' as it is in 
the vernacular of Ulster; and this led to the in- 
crease of birds, the solemn crow, the chattering 
daw, the long-tailed magpie, with his piebald 
coat and pert manner, and the dear old plain- 
coated thrush. Burns' 'mavis,' and the equally 
mellow-voiced blackbird. And here in every 
hedge is the robin, not the great able-bodied 
robin of America, made on the scale of the coun- 
try, but the true robin, no bigger than the spar- 
row — the very robin that covered up the babes in 
the wood with dry leaves, and then sung a 
funeral dirge over them. Of course no one but 
a brute would shoot him, in Ireland, where they 
know the true history of his red breast; how he 
pitied the world's Redeemer on the cross and 
tried in vain to pull away the thorns from his 
brow, and one of them pricked his own bosom 
and the blood came out, and the Redeemer 
marked the well-meant effort of the little bird, 
and through His benediction the blood stain be- 
came a glory on his breast forever." 

But a little plot of garden such as almost every 
poorest householder in Dublin may cherish is in 
New York's wilderness of stone and brick such 


a luxury as even multi-millionaires cannot often 
permit themselves. 

The summer vacations were variously spent. 
One of the simple pleasures of my father's 
younger days was a walking trip in Wales. 
With light luggage, and living on the simple fare 
of the kindly Welsh people he walked all over 
the northern and southern parts of Wales, and 
retained to the end of his life a great admiration, 
and deep regard for the Welsh people. A little 
Erse which he had picked up in Connaught helped 
him to make his wants known where only the 
Welsh tongue was spoken. He also visited 
with my mother and a dear friend the principal 
continental cities, travelling in France and Italy 
as well as Switzerland. The vacations were 
short, but in successive trips he covered in this 
way a good deal of ground. 

The Dublin ministry had many joys as well as 
the usual trials. The last addition to the family 
circle was a little girl born in Dublin, and a great 
delight to the parents in the midst of so many 
boys. Warm friends and tender life-attach- 
ments were here formed. Moreover the in- 
fluence of the voice in the pulpit was greatly 
supplemented by the writings in the Evangelical 
Witness, already mentioned as founded by my 


father in the years when most his hands seemed 
full with a new church building in prospect. It 
was a difficult undertaking. Every question in 
Ireland at that time was political. Moreover the 
divisions among the Presbyterians was pro- 
nounced. The aim of the Evangelical Witness 
was to write news of different political convic- 
tions on the basis of an honest evangehcal Prot- 
estantism. My father was as we have seen 
himself a pronounced Liberal, but he was no 
politician either secular or ecclesiastical. To him 
the success of evangelical orthodoxy was the 
supreme end. He sought to interest men of all 
shades of political and ecclesiastical opinion. 
Hence he often gave offense to extremists on 
both sides. As Thomas Macnight, so long an 
editor of a foremost Liberal paper in Belfast has 
written of those days, "I repeat, therefore, that 
to be a Liberal in Ulster at that time (1866) was 
a very different thing from being a Liberal in 
Great Britain. It meant a great deal more; it 
meant often pecuniary loss, loss of municipal and 
Parliamentary honors, loss even of ordinary 
social courtesies from the great Ulster noblemen 
and their families, whose names at least were as- 
sociated with the old ascendency." But Liberal- 
ism was making steady headway among the 


younger men. Dr. Cooke saw it and felt it as an 
almost personal grievance. In 1866 a movement 
was set on foot to mark the real union of the 
two wings by electing a Liberal to the moderator- 
ship of the General Assembly. Already, how- 
ever, disestablishment was in the air. Strenuous 
efforts were made to enlist the Presbyterian 
Church on the side of the establishment. In 
those days all Presbyterian ministers received the 
so called Regium Donum a small sum "given" 
as a solace to the "dissenting meeting-houses." 
On the basis of this gracious favor vast efforts 
were made to hold the Presbyterian Assembly 
true to the principle of a "God-fearing state." 
It would never do, therefore, to have a Liberal 
elected to the moderatorship. The editor of the 
Evangelical Witness, and the man who had at 
last given Dublin a worthy Presbyterian church, 
and made Presbyterianism known and respected 
as something more than the Ulster tail to the 
Orange kite, was the natural candidate. It was 
quite impossible to impeach the orthodoxy or 
spiritual experience of my father, but he had 
somehow to be gotten rid of in an honorable 
and yet effective way. This way was easily 
found. He was made a delegate to the Assem- 
blies' meeting in the United States of America. 


Dr. J. C. Johnston (Dublin) reports' a reply said 
to have been made at this time by my father. 
Some one said to him "I thought you were to 
have been moderator?" "My brethren have 
transported me," was the half-humorous re- 
joinder. So transported he was, adds Dr. Johns- 
ton, " and his political and other heresies troubled 
the Assembly no more." 

It was under these circumstances that the first 
journey was undertaken to America in company 
with Dr. Denham Smith as delegates to the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the Presbyterian Church North. 
No thought at that time had entered my father's 
mind that he might be called to leave Dublin. 
Many interests bound him to the place. He felt 
deeply responsible for the success of the new 
church in Rutland Square. The future of the 
Evangelical Wilness seemed to depend largely 
upon him. He was surrounded by able and 
sympathetic men, for not only was his old friend 
and college companion, Dr. Hamilton Magee in 
Dublin, but Dr. Fleming Stevenson was meeting 
with great and deserved success in a new church 
enterprise with which my father had had much 
to do. In fact on all sides he was engaged, as 

^ The Irish Presbyterian, November, 1 898. 


he thought, usefully. He had refused a splendid 
opening for usefulness in Glasgow. A committee 
had waited upon him from free St. George's 
Church in Edinburgh to urge him to consider 
that opening, but he not only refused, but at his 
suggestion the matter was kept confidential, and 
until the memoirs of one of the committeemen 
was published in which the offer was mentioned 
no public knowledge was had of the refusal. 
Even in Belfast many were hoping that he would 
sooner or later be called to take the real leader- 
ship in the Assembly. 

The attempt to nominate him for the modera- 
torship revealed what was a complete surprise to 
him. He saw that the "pillars" did not want 
him. He was too active, too aggressive, too lit- 
tle of a man to handle, too hard to confer secretly 
with, nor was he given to schemes and arrange- 
ments. He was moreover a Liberal, believed in 
secular education and personal rights. He 
thought questions should be debated in open 
court, and that men should respect each other's 
differing views. To his dying day he loved and 
reverenced Dr. Cooke, and looked on him with 
almost an indiscriminating honor and affection. 
He saw no reason why the small men who came 
toddling after Dr. Cooke imitating their leader on 


his weakest side, should quarrel with him be- 
cause he could not share Dr. Cooke's political 
opinions, or be blinded by the Conservative 
chaff obsequious Tories flung in Dr. Cooke's eyes. 
He knew, moreover, that Dr. Cooke himself de- 
manded no sacrifice of manhood from his younger 
brethren ; that although accustomed to be obeyed, 
and proud of his judgment and skill in debate, 
yet even so in the most acrid disputes of the 
old Arian controversy. Dr. Cooke had main- 
tained the position that there should be no perse- 
cution "for personal opinion" and no legislation 
that would be retroactive ; and that only con- 
vinced judgment was worth anything to the 

It was with mingled feelings, therefore, as the 
correspondence shows, that the invitation to go 
as delegate to America was accepted, and other 
overtures coming just at that time of a most in- 
viting character, opened up before him, as he 
started westward, the whole subject of his duty 
to Ireland, to himself and to the Church at large. 
At the same time the idea of going to America 
was wholly strange to him. There were not as 
many ties between the two countries then as 
now, and so far as the writer knows, the call ex- 
tended to the Dublin preacher by the New York 


congregation was one of the first calls of the 
kind, although the precedent was followed very 
often in after years. To the little household in 
Dublin the trip seemed an exceedingly formidable 
one. The far-off land lay then on a vastly more 
misty horizon than it does now, although even 
yet the American much more easily makes the 
journey to Europe, accustomed as the American 
is to longer distances in his own land, than does 
the European make the trip to America. Hence 
with some measure of excitement, natural under 
the circumstances, the duties of the delegation 
were undertaken. 



Gracious Father ! 

We desire to join together with all our hearts in 
committing to Thy care one who now leaves his 
dwelling. Go Thou, O heavenly Father, who art 
everywhere present, with him, to give safety and 
peace in all the ways of life, to bestow the peace that 
coraeth from knowing and serving Christ, and to give 
at last an entrance with us, and with all the family 
that is named after Jesus, into Thy heavenly king- 
dom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

— From Family Prayers, by J. Hall. 





IN the spring of 1867 my parents went with an 
old friend, with whom they often travelled, 
for a trip to Italy. They left Dublin on March 
25th, for London, going at once to Paris, and 
thence next day to Lyons, Marseilles, Nice and 
thence by steamer to Genoa, and after a rather 
hurried visit to Naples and the surrounding 
country they proceeded to Rome to be there in 
time for the Lenten week, and the Easter cele- 
bration. The impressions made on my father by 
this visit to Rome he often recalled. He had 
many warm personal admirers among the Roman 
Catholics, and had worked with them in Ireland 
in many public enterprises, but he had a deeply- 
rooted sense of the danger of Roman Catholicism 
as a system. In Rome he saw what he con- 
sidered the pure heathenism of both the ceremo- 
nial and the government. In those days Rome 
was still under the dominion of the Vatican. 


The luggage was searched for forbidden books, 
among which the New Testament was counted 
as one, and on every hand was seen the adminis- 
trative inefficiency of the Papal power in Rome. 
When in 1870 a change became inevitable in the 
mastery over Rome no one rejoiced more at the 
thought of a free Italy than did my father. The 
glory of the music, and the gorgeous nature of 
the spectacle in Rome was not enough to hide 
from him the miserable bondage, as he saw it, of 
the superstitions that overlaid the gospel. The 
crowds of dirty monks, the beggars.the filth of the 
side streets, the disorder during the processions, 
the eternal paying of small sums for services not 
really rendered, and the miserable way in which 
the art treasures and the priceless antiquities were 
kept seem to have been the impressions most 
deeply made upon the whole party. So bad was 
the drainage, and so defective the water supply, 
that each returning Easter season with its crowds 
brought fever as a regular and expected guest 
into the city. Nor did the party wholly escape, 
although prompt flight to Florence stopped the 
attack from reaching a serious point. The ap- 
pointment to go to America compelled my father 
to hurry home, and leaving the two ladies in 
Paris he made his way back to Dublin. A pas- 



sage having been secured for him on the steam- 
ship City of New York, he was bound to sail 
on the 2d of May. This first voyage was so new 
an experience that a careful journal was kept. 
The contrast between the present day comfort 
makes some selections from it of interest. 

" 2d May, 1867. Left my most happy home at 
eight o'clock for Queen's Bridge Station. Had the 
carriage mostly to myself for reading purposes 
good, no one coming in to whom I cared to talk. 
Got a horse and cart (Cork cars too small) to take 
my luggage to the Queenstown Station. After a 
delay of an hour the steamer was signalled, and 
we saw her coming in. The passengers gath- 
ered, and we all set out in the tender for her — 
about half a mile away. The embarking of the 
steerage passengers was a scramble, in the end 
of which I got my luggage and possession of my 
cabin. 1 find 1 have a room all to myself. It is 
a very good one in the centre of the ship, al- 
though the steward says it takes in water in cer- 
tain weather. I got settled about six o'clock, and 
going on deck found the night too thick to see much 
of the land. 1 waited for tea at half-past seven, but 
when it was served was not disposed for it; went 
to my berth and had an undisturbed night's sleep. 

" 3d May, Friday. Could have had some break- 


fast but the steward forgot my order, and 1 did 
not feel enough appetite to make a row, for 
when I got up 1 felt squeamish, but was very 
well in bed. At four 1 rose and dressed and 
went on deck after dinner. It was raining, and 
after surveying the scene without poetry or en- 
thusiasm of any kind I returned, undressed and 
went to bed. The strongest feeling of my rather 
torpid nature at this time was one of profound 
thankfulness that my darling children were 
happy at home, and my beloved wife enjoying 
herself in Paris. I was not however continuously 
sick, but was plainly thought to be so, for an oppo- 
site neighbor with whom I had exchanged scraps 
of personal history on Thursday evening (from 
Hollywood, County Down) came to me and offered 
some 'excellent oaten bread' which his wife had 
bought as a ' good thing to settle the stomach. ' I 
felt the kindness, but as sheherself was audibly ill 
in bed 1 did not feel proper confidence in the cure. 
" Saturday morning, May 4th. . . . I ought 
to say that the ship's motion is easy, but to me dis- 
agreeable, though I can hardly tell why. We have 
our sails set and are going over smooth enough 
water at twelve miles an hour, so that we must be 
now about 540 miles from Cork on Saturday after- 


"Wednesday morning, May 8th. Soon after 
the above was written the weather became too 
rough to admit of doing anything with comfort 
except ' looking upward ' and thinking of my treas- 
ures on earth. The high sea makes the sound of 
the engine and screw most disagreeable. Re- 
morseless unresting, it keeps pounding away as it 
were at my very head, and accompanied as it is by 
the dashing of the water along the side of the ship 
and especially about the screw, it is not at all 
favorable to rest at night, especially in the crib, 
which it is an insult to my usual sleeping place to 
call ' a bed.' Sabbath continued rough with most 
disagreeable cross seas: no service of any kind 
could be had, and many were sick in their berths. 
Of the remainder many, 1 am sorry to say, were 
drunk at night. Each afternoon I went for a little 
on deck, but have not much appetite save for 
meat, and I feel as if I could consume a jar of 

"On Monday the cross seas changed into a series 
of squalls, dead against us which reduced our 
speed to about six knots an hour, and made our 
plunging through it very uncomfortable. 1 spent 
the whole forepart of the day on deck, the fore- 
part of the ship every now and then covered with 
a sheet of spray. . . . Had a good deal of 


talk with some passengers, and especially with 
a highly educated German (I suspect a Jesuit 
priest) who speaks English well, and knows the 
older philosophy well, but he is feeble indeed as 
to the truth. He could not hold his ground five 
minutes with Hamilton Magee. 

"On Tuesday things got still worse. A stiff 
northwesterly wind blowing us out of our 
course. Only a sailor could hold his footing. 1 
sat a long time on the steps and watched the 
scene, the captain, who, of course, made little of 
it with me for a little while. Storms are painted 
fairly enough by the writers and painters. The 
great irregular moving masses of water, black, 
dark blue, cobalt and now and then, as the sun 
shone through the tops of the waves, light-blue 
and even green like malachite, may well enough 
look to the imaginations of steerage passengers 
on a lower deck 'mountain high.' In point 
of fact I think the valleys were about fifteen feet 
deep. The stormy petrels were skimming their 
sides, hke swallows, no doubt seeking their food. 
The screams of great sea-birds were now and 
again heard, and their plunges into the waves 
were seen. They are often in the 'troubled' 
waters behind the ship. As night came on the 
sea grew worse, and with nothing but the ship 


to blow against the motion became unpleasant. 
The wind went hissing through the shrouds 
(like the confidential whisper of the tempest) 
with a subdued force that we felt rather than 
heard, and it was withal very cold. I went to 
bed realizing 1 trust and feel the meaning of 
Psalm 46 (God is our refuge and our strength). 
The early part of the night continued rough, but 
towards morning it moderated, and the wind 
chopped about on our beam, so that we have 
some sails up and are going as fast as on the first 
days. . . . Among the suffering ladies I am 
sorry to report my oaten-cake friend, who has 
not realized the benefit of the specific. She has 
not left her cabin, but may be heard in it, where 
she is accompanied by two suffering children. 
As I write the ship rolls a good deal and makes 
writing very difficult. I have my pockets full of 
books, and beside me the features of my own 
little circle, and now that we are more than half 
way to New York, and we may hope the worser 
half, 1 need not feel cast down. In time perhaps 
I would get inured to life at sea but it would take 

" Wednesday, four o'clock. This is the first 
endurable day for three or four. The day keeps 


fine, and we make fair progress. 1 have done 
more to-day in reading, etc., than any one else 
likely on board. It is a lazy life. Got through 
several magazines which had lain by me on the 
continent. The ship will soon have been eight 
clear days from Liverpool, and if it had not been 
for adverse winds three more would likely have 
brought us in sight of America. Now it will 
\ikely take five more. . . . Last night I found 
some Irish Presbyterians on board, and to-day I 
was a good deal among the steerage people talk- 
ing to them as well as 1 could. They are of all 
nations, and this is not easy. To-day the ship 
made 320 miles, and if all goes well we shall still 
reach New York on Monday. 1 have made the 
acquaintance of an Englishman, an engineer who 
has been through Turkey in Asia. His little 
Greek wife is with him, the daughter of a Greek 
captain of a Turkish warship. She cannot speak 
English and he cannot speak Greek, but both 
speak Turkish and so converse in that tongue. 
He gives a bad account of the Greeks as dishon- 
est, mean and lying. He is not a man of culture, 
but in knocking about the world has learned 
many facts. . . . Our captain is the man 
who was out fifty-four days in the City of 
Washington, whose screw was lost. He put 


his passengers aboard another ship and stuck by 
his own. . . . There are 760 steerage pas- 
sengers! Swiss, Swedes, Dutch, English, Amer- 
icans and Irish; and the crew also are much di- 
vided in nationality. . . . 1 spoke to a young 
woman (married) going to San Francisco, who 
told me her family lived in Dublin, and that her 
brother was or had been a Methodist, but now went 
to a 'people they call Presbyterians, and the min- 
ister was a Dr. Hall or Hawley, she didn't know 
which.' I took his address. Have been among 
the steerage folks again — not many English-speak- 
ing Protestants among them. But on the whole 
a sober lot. The worst case, I am sorry to say, 
of beastly drinking is among the cabin pas- 
sengers — a Belfast man, who gives himself out to 
be a mill owner. 

" Sabbath morning, May 12th. Good sleep, and 
up early as the captain has asked me to preach. 
Good congregation including two Jews and a 
Roman Catholic doctor, and a Roman Catholic 
priest, already mentioned from Germany. My 
text was I Peter 1:19. Afterwards went below 
among the steerage passengers and never spent 
a happier time than the four hours with them; 
the Swedes, five hundred of them, all Lutheran, 


singing their hymns to the tune ' I have a Father 
in the promised land.' I got hold of a good lad 
who spoke English and interpreted and 1 preached 
to them. Their tears flowed. They kissed my 
hands, and were most grateful. All are learning 
English. The evening was fine, the moon shi- 
ning, and we getting on our way very well." 

The rest of the journal is filled with little details 
of only relative interest now. My father was 
taken at once to the home of Mr. James Stuart, 
a distant relative, where as he remarks, "1 am 
luxuriously lodged." 

The object of sending a delegation to America 
from the church of Ireland was to establish again 
bonds of fellowship imperilled by the Civil war, 
and its divisions of sentiment. Dr. Denham was 
accompanied by his wife, but my father as the 
younger man, expected to travel too far and too 
fast to permit of the trip being a pleasure to a 
lady. He at one time thought of taking his 
eldest boy, but the same considerations prevented 
that plan also. He had only eight weeks in the 
country, and in that time he spoke day after day 
in nearly all the eastern and many of the western 
cities. The delegation was formally accredited 
to the Old and New School Assemblies, to the 
Synod of the Reformed church and to the Synod 


of the Covenanters, and while in America a com- 
mission came to them to the Covenanter Synod 
in Canada. One of the vivid recorded impres- 
sions of New York was a thunder-storm which 
came soon after landing; "I slept well, notwith- 
standing a thunder-storm last night like which I 
never saw anything." The first duty was dis- 
charged in meeting the " Covenanters," as my 
father calls the body to which Mr. George H. 
Stuart at that time belonged, i. e., the United 
Presbyterian Church, and which was meeting in 
New York. Mr. Stuart was a relative, and had a 
national reputation in religious circles on account 
of his zeal and energy in all good works, but in 
particular in connection with that of the Chris- 
tian commission throughout the Civil war. No 
religious public meeting without Mr. Stuart as 
chairman was considered quite complete. He 
was afterwards disciplined by his body for sing- 
ing hymns, which as he was totally tone-deaf 
seemed to many to be making a crime out of a 
calamity. He had long known and corres- 
ponded with my father, (see page 58) and had 
shown practical and wise interest in the Con- 
naught mission. It was now a great and real 
pleasure to him to arrange plans for the appear- 
ances of the delegation. Mr. Stuart had an in- 


satiable appetite for public meetings, and his 
mere presence insured that the meeting would be 
well arranged, full of snap and thoroughly well- 
known beforehand. He moreover knew well 
the American public, and was in touch with as 
many religious interests as any man of his gener- 
ation. He at once began making plans for the 
exploiting of the Irish delegation. Mr. Stuart 
coming himself from Markethill in the north of 
Ireland felt a most particular desire to have the 
results of the mission as abundant as possible. 

In a letter to the home circle, my father says in 
one place: "1 need not now dwell upon impres- 
sions. Everything indicates wealth, and all that 
money can buy is on hand. Every one is most 
kind, and I am sure, sincerely glad to see us. We 
shall have hard work for the next month, if we 
overtake all the engagements made for us. New 
York is fine; in the end I live is like the west 
end of Glasgow; the business end has an un- 
finished rough and ready, republican kind of 
look, every house having a mind of its own." 

After meeting with the Reformed Presbyte- 
rian church the start was made for Rochester 
where the New School Assembly was in session. 
The trip took the party up the Hudson, which 
made a most enduring impression upon the visi- 


tors. " The river itself is far finer tinan tiie 
Rhine, or any river in Europe, although, of 
course, it lacks the historic feature, and the 
picturesque castles of the old world scenery," 
was the verdict of my father. As it happened 
two brothers of younger years had preceded my 
father to America, and as both were in Canada, 
and not far from the Falls of Niagara, he writes 
"1 found at breakfast that I was within a day's 
journey and six dollars of Robert. The love of 
my brothers got the better of the love of the Falls 
and at ten o'clock 1 was off to the Canada side, 
crossed Lake Ontario by boat to Toronto, thence 
sixty-three miles by train. There I spent the 
Sabbath and preached in the Presbyterian and 
Wesleyan churches." 

On Tuesday the delegation was received at 
Rochester by the New School Assembly, and 
"very cordially" is the comment of the corre- 
spondence. Thence they proceeded to Cincin- 
nati, "rather slowly" my father thought, but 
"Dr. Denham does not like to go too fast." At 
Cincinnati the speech of my father made a pro- 
found impression. The enthusiasm aroused was 
very great, and from that time on calls came 
to him to speak at meetings all over the country 
at most impossible distances. Of this speech 


Harper's IVeekly said: "His eloquent speech on 
the occasion of his reception, which was one of 
the striking incidents of that Assembly, will never 
be forgotten by any who heard it." The re- 
sponse to the many calls for speeches began to 
try even the younger member of the delegation. 
He writes, "I am in good health, I am thankful 
to say, but it is very fast work, and the meals 
are so unlike my own in time, quality, etc., that I 
am not always comfortable." At the same time 
he says: "Our coming to the new school has 
already done good, and a deputation will be in 
Edinburgh and in Dublin. Please to send a letter 
on getting this to Dr. McCosh telling him that 
the new school deputation will be in Edinburgh, 
and that they are looking to him to care for them 
in Ireland." 

In the correspondence of this period great 
comfort is taken in a small coin. "Tell Emily I 
have her half-penny as a memorial of her, and 
often look at it." The last day in Dublin, had in 
fact been given to the children. It is one of the 
writer's vivid memories of going in Phoenix Park 
for a last " long walk " with the father who was 
going to America. The children had heard of the 
expense of such a journey, and just before part- 
ing the little daughter, about six years of age, 


slipped a half-penny into the father's hand. " It 
is all 1 have, but it may help towards the expense 
in America." It certainly did help to cheer the 
journey, as many allusions to it in the home let- 
ters abundantly prove. 

In the hurry and rush of those eight busy 
weeks the family in Eccles Street was never for- 
gotten. The leaves of the journal have a "bank- 
note " for Bolton's collection of stamps and bills; 
a "coin or two " is in the trunk for Robert's col- 
lection. Alas, the shops of New York are "en- 
tirely too expensive to permit of the purchase of 
many little things one would like to take home 
as keep-sakes," but "no doubt I will find some- 
thing for the rest by and by." From Cincinnati 
the plans carried the party to Xenia, Ohio, and 
thence to Indianapolis, and every occasion for a 
speech or a public meeting was made the most 
of by Mr. Stuart who was now in full control. 
At Springfield the life and death of Lincoln is 
noted with tender words. In the struggle be- 
tween the North and the South, my father had 
taken a definite stand in a speech made in Glas- 
gow as the war was going on, on the side of the 
North. Even as a student he had interested him- 
self, as we have seen, in the liberation movement. 
For Lincoln he always had a sincere admiration 


mingled with regrets that he lacked, what my 
father thought he most needed, the comforts of 
an active militant Christian life. 

The State of Illinois impressed the traveller im- 
mensely. He writes, "The next day we came 
by Dayton, to the capital of Missouri (St. Louis) 
about 260 miles, and right across the whole State 
of Illinois, one of the finest and richest countries 
1 have ever seen. The land is so level that one 
sees ten miles, and so fertile that it needs no 
manure for twenty years and produces 100 
bushels of corn to the acre ! " In St. Louis, 
Springfield, Lafayette meetings were held at 
which my father preached, and then the party 
went on to Chicago. He writes, " I am not 
overworked, though I do not like the living 
here, and am better at home with you. But the 
profusion of things, fruits of the earth especially 
that are eaten is something wonderful. The 
state of religion is much like as with us. In 
Europe people do not enough carry religion into 
their business. Here I think they carry business 
into their religion a good deal." 

Of Chicago the impression was of rush and 
hurry. "It is the Queen of the West, with 
200,000 people, where thirty years ago there were 
only 600! We get crowded meetings, and are 


■wonderfully reported, as you will see, not in 
what we say, but how we say it." And again, 
"We are carried round Sabbath-schools to no 
end, and Dr. Denham and I get rid of a good deal 
of perspiration. Happily we have plenty of iced 
water." Crowded meetings in Pittsburg are 
mentioned, and thence the journey was to Phila- 
delphia. Here again preaching, speaking, and 
visiting schools, institutions, and attending public 
dinners consumed the time, until atlast my father 
insisted on a day or two of leisure to visit Balti- 
more and Washington, both of which cities seem 
at that time to have rather disappointed him, 
although he was deeply and profoundly moved 
by the graves at Arlington, "where rest 30,000 
soldiers, sleeping their last bivouac." 

Lecture engagements called him thence to Can- 
ada, and from there down through the New Eng- 
land States, speaking on the way at Amherst, 
and recalling Jonathan Edwards as he passed 
Northampton. On the 23d he was in New York 
again and found that arrangements had been 
made for him to preach in the morning for Dr. 
Adams (New School) and in the afternoon in 
the Fifth Avenue Church (Old School), and at 
Dr. Duvyea's in the evening. On the 24th he 
was in Princeton, speaking there and addressing 


the Cliosophic Society, which had elected him a 
member. Here he met Dr. Hodge and others. 
From this on the time was filled with various ap- 
pointments and visits to various people, including 
the run up to Canada, already mentioned, and 
then on the 13th of July passage was taken on 
the City of London, for the old home. 

This trip to America made a great impression 
upon him of the vast possibihties for good or 
evil that lay involved in the tremendous power 
and wealth he saw was in the future. Mr. Stuart 
had set his heart on having him come to America, 
even before this visit, but the idea only very 
vaguely crossed his mind that he himself should 
ever come, but in one place he says, " I can 
hardly overcome the idea that at some future 
time some of the children will be on this conti- 
nent, where things are done on so much larger a 
scale than with us." 

Looking back upon his first visit to America, 
my father once recorded some of his early 
memories and impressions which in part are as 

" I landed from the Ctty of New York steamer 
on Manhattan Island, not as an emigrant nor a 
mere tourist, but to discharge an honorable and 
pleasant duty as a delegate from the ' mother 


Church,' in Ireland (for so we may truly call 
her), to the Presbyterian Churches in Synod and 
Assemblies in the United States. Expecting to 
be only a couple of months in the country, and 
then to return to pastoral duty in the capital of 
my native land, I meant, of course, to keep eyes 
and ears very wide open, and to carry away as 
much as possible of — not money, for my ex- 
penses were provided for by the body repre- 
sented, nor glory, for 1 thought myself quite un- 
fit for the task — but knowledge of the places, the 
people, and the institutions of which I had read 
and heard from childhood. 

"A lovely summer day, the 13th May, 1867 — 
was the day of landing; and, like most others, I 
looked with unbounded admiration upon the 
scenery opening up to the eye as one enters the 
Narrows and approaches the city. There is 
nothing just like it in Europe as a bit of scenery, 
and there is nothing at all like its magnificent, 
dignified ferry-boats, with their great beams in 
the air, not to speak of those models of confi- 
dence and impudence, the steam-tugs. I had had 
the advantage of a few days' seasickness in the 
solitude of a room, knew no one on board, and 
expected to see dear friends on the American 
shore; so when the tugs rushed past, and 


screamed, ' Keep out of my way if you want to 
be safe,' it was natural to laugh in admiration. 

There was a little disenchantment over the 
rather ragged piers in great contrast with the 
solid cut-stone docks of such places as Liverpool, 
and in the rather rough streets over which one 
was rolled, but it was not forgotten that the 
country was new, and some things needed to be 
' fixed up.' There was an opportunity given to 
speak the very night of the first day on the 
American soil, and 1 am bound to say gratefully 
that the country has continued in this respect as 
it began with me. 

"Oh! what a day that was that laid bare, in 
pleasant sunshine, the glories of the Hudson, 
right and left, as surveyed from the steamboat. 
There were books and papers for the way, but 
they had a holiday. I had been on the Rhine and 
among other tempting bits of European scenery 
in the previous spring. There were, of course, 
the castles, the chalets and the lingering tradi- 
tions; but for grace, dignity and interest the 
Hudson is far ahead of them, and well prepared 
one for the Falls of Niagara the next day. 
'Blood is thicker than water,' and the Falls 
were soon forsaken for a brother and a group of 
unknown cousins on the Canadian side. It was 


good to see an old aunt, settled in Canada about 
the time I was born, and to hear her tell of 
children and children's children, and chuckle 
over the saying of the neighbors that ' if you 
threw up a stone anywhere, it would fall on 
one of them.' Duties really began at Roch- 
ester, where an Assembly met. 1 came in 
after midnight, and judge of my horror on 
finding the portmanteau that contained the 
speeches lost! And, to add to the terrors, the 
speech had to come off early next forenoon. .No 
matter. There was an opportunity to see the 
noble form of Dr. Adams, and without being 
told, guess his commanding position. And the 
speeches got themselves off at Cincinnati, and 
Xenia, and Indianapolis, and Chicago, and each 
day brought its store of new ideas, and it did 
seem too bad to have only a few days in Phila- 
delphia, and then a few more in New York, and 
then quit the continent probably forever!" 

The voyage home was uneventful. At first 
calm, and yet very slow. The notes of the voy- 
age declare, "This ship is about 390 feet long, 
100 feet longer than the City of New York, more 
steady, but her machinery is defective, and she 
has had to stop three times to allow it to coal. 
The table is good. The first few days we had 


fine weather, but our motion was slow, one day 
we only did 156 miles. I have been able to 
preach each Sabbath morning, and to very at- 
tentive audiences, some of whom wept. One 
rough sailor declared to me in a sort of ' aside ' 
on deck, that ' he could listen to me talking to 
the day of Pentecost,' a well meant though ill- 
expressed compliment. I have read a good deal 
on board, including periodicals, the Edinburgh 
Review, North British Review and Charles King- 
sley's 'Two Years Ago' and 'Yeast.'" The 
landing was at last affected, and Dublin was 
reached, where the little family was found in 
restored health. For while away the two 
younger children had been ill. At once was 
begun the ceaseless round of visits that marked 
the faithful ministry during its whole range. 




Mother of nations vanquishing the earth ; 
Old ocean queen ! to whom we owe our birth ; 
Columbia, mingling with thy grief her tear, 
Sends thee her greeting on this sad New-Year. 

There have been strifes — in woe, they are forgot ; 
And feuds — they are as though they had been not : 
When father-land the mournful watch is keeping, 
The scattered household needs must hear the weeping. 

Thrice thirty years since we were seeking rest, 
A callow bird, pushed from the parent nest; 
Now strong, and glad her eagle wing to fold, 
Her memory of the deed — not she — grows old. 

Grieve not, because ye sent us o'er the sea ; 
God meant it well for truth and liberty. 
He makes us great ; so let these clasping hands 
Be ever clasped — for blessing to the lands. 

New York, Dec. 75, i8yi. 

* Published in an issue of the New York Ledger ^ in which also some 
lines by Tennyson appeared. 



i — ,U- 


liuwing Mes: 




EVEN before the delegation had left America, 
the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Ses- 
sion had considered the wisdom of calling my 
father to the vacant pulpit, and had cautious ap- 
proaches made to him. These overtures were 
not however taken seriously by him, and in his 
ignorance of local conditions he could give them 
no thought. He was therefore not a little sur- 
prised to learn from Mr. George H. Stuart that 
the matter was being definitely pushed, and that 
he would be compelled to consider some over- 
ture. The letter stating this was followed almost 
immediately by a cable from Mr. William Walker, 
as clerk of the session, saying, "Large meeting 
of congregation voted you cordial and unani- 
mous call." 
In those days cables were not as common as 

now. After twelve years of seemingly almost 


fruitless struggle Mr. Cyrus Field had made in 
1866 his last successful effort. Just before the 
starting of the Great Eastern with the cable on 
board, a number of clergymen had been invited 
to Valencia to inaugurate with appropriate relig- 
ious services the undertaking. Among those in- 
vited had been my father; and it was with a feel- 
ing akin to awe that this cable message a few 
months later was viewed in the family circle. 
Among the household treasures was a piece of 
the cable, and a finely illustrated history of the 
undertaking. These were all again examined 
and admired in the light of this practical example 
of the efficiency of the Atlantic cable. 

This message came on the ist of August, 1867, 
and was at once taken into grave consideration. 
Many things had to be weighed on both sides. 
The aged mother in the north of Ireland was 
deeply moved at the mere prospect of having the 
great ocean part her in her declining days from 
the son on whom she now gladly and freely 
leaned. Her one comfort was that, "he would 
be preaching to many nations, and that though 
her hope he would have been a missionary was 
not fulfilled, that yet at least his voice would 
bring the gospel to distant parts." 

Had all the love and affection been made man- 


ifest that later years proved existed, the parting 
from heland would have been far harder, and 
the path of duty less plain. But my father felt, 
and to an inner circle guardedly said, that his 
sympathies were with a set of ideas and a policy 
plainly not favored by the General Assembly as 
a body. He was an outspoken Liberal; the policy 
of the Assembly was to work with the Tory 
party in the great issues at least. He was for 
disestablishment and thorough disestablishment 
at that; the Assembly was — as seen in its action 
of i868^on the other side. He was on the side 
of secular and undenominational education; the 
Assembly was not heartily in favor of it, although 
assenting with constant, and often unjust criti- 
cisms of their representatives on the National 
Board of Education. My father had no objection 
to either organ or hymns, but these were the 
burning questions — hardly settled yet — on which 
a triumphant majority were glad year after year 
to assert their power to stop progress by de- 
structive conservatism. Along many lines my 
father had been calling down the criticisms of the 
"pillars" and "safe " counsellors in the church 
by demands for reforms in Sabbath-school teach- 
ing, by his temperance activity and by pleas to 
carry on the evangelization of Ireland along the 


lines laid down by Dr. Edgar. There was little 
or no opposition of an open kind to my father's 
restless activity along these and other lines; but 
there was a steady quiet suppressing of his en- 
ergy. He longed for "more atmosphere," and 
said so confidentially to an inner circle. Yet he 
loved Ireland, and he loved Dublin. He clung 
with a tender and unceasing affection, not only 
to a little band of ministerial friends, but to num- 
berless families all over the country. In Belfast, 
in Newry, in Cork as well as in Dublin his heart 
was bound by sweet and lasting bonds to Chris- 
tian friends, whom he never forgot, and who 
never forgot or betrayed him. 

Great as was the pressure put upon him to ac- 
cept the call voices were at the same time 
lifted up by intimate friends both in Ireland 
and in America urging him to consider the 
step carefully. His oldest and dearest friend 

My dear Hall : 

It is not my place, of course, to interfere in that most 
serious business of your going to New York. Serious it is, in 
almost every aspect of it. I know quite well you are not the 
man to act from impulse, and that you have deliberately 
weighed the matter in all its bearings. I am not certain 
whether you have irrevocably pledged yourself to go, nor do I 
wish you to tell me whether you have or not. But, if you have 
NOT, I beseech you to consider the position of responsibility and 


influence that God has assigned you in the present crisis of our 
ecclesiastical and national history. You are, I am quite sure, 
satisfied that some of the gravest questions that have ever been 
discussed in our church in our time, are certam to come up 
very soon. You are needed. You know I am never given to 
flattery. But I only say what I think, and what I have very, 
very often said to others, that of all the men in our church, you 
are the man, I would say, we cannot spare. God is not tied to 
any individual instrument, it is true. But seeing He conde- 
scends to raise up, and to qualify instruments for His own 
work, we are not dishonoring nor disturbing Him when we 
recognize the qualifications for special service, He has Himself 
bestowed. ... I write in confidence, I am not mentioning 
even to my wife that I am writing to you. It is as well not. 
I can speak more freely. There will be only one feeling in 
Dr. Kirkpatrick's family should you go — of deep and poignant 
sorrow. Those young people are all exceedingly attached to 
you. I know these are small matters, but I can at least do no 
harm to mention them. 

The one thing that weighs upon my mind is, that you are 
more needed for, and I think, considering everything, more 
fitted for, working in the land of your birth (first and second) 
than in any country under heaven. If the Lord still opens up 
your way to remain among us, no one will be more gratified 
than your old college friend, H. Magee. 

To J. Hall, 
Aug. i^th, i8(yj. 

From an Irish friend then in America and fa- 
miliar with conditions in New York and even in 
some degree with the conditions in the church 
he asked for " the gloomy side " of the call, 
and received a very sober and careful letter, of 
which some abstracts may be interesting. 


" August gth, iSby. 

"Dear Dr. Hall : — 


"You will understand that my object is to lay 
before you such facts regarding this country and 
the church as, I think might influence your de- 
cision as to coming out here, and I will do it as 
fairly as I can, for I would not on my account 
desire you to come out and then be disappointed 
by finding anything different from what you had 
expected, and yet I cannot tell you how thankful 
I should feel personally if the Father should in His 
kind providence bring you here while we are 
still here. 

"In the first place the church has not been in 
a very satisfactory state. Some did not treat Dr. 
Rice at all as they ought to have done, and the 

one who took the lead was whom you 

have met. Some particularly desired another 
candidate when Dr. Rice was elected, and they 
never, therefore, were favorably disposed to 
him. Besides, he came at the beginning of the 
war. He was a Kentuckian by birth, and his 
wife and most of his friends were southern peo- 
ple, and his not preaching political sermons was 
construed by his enemies into a sympathy for 
the south. But it was really only a few of the 


extremists carried away by the excitement and 
passion of tlie moment, who turned against him. 
The great mass of the church did not want po- 
litical preaching, nay, they were very thankful 
not to have it. They loved the noble old doctor 
most intensely, no one had any idea how in- 
tensely, until he was compelled to leave them. 
They would have done anything to have retained 
his connection with the church. But he would 
not remain while he could not work and he was 
completely broken down. Of his own free will 
he resigned, greatly to the sorrow of the great 
portion of the congregation. In your case how- 
ever the church is perfectly unanimous, and you 
come without being mixed up with either po- 
litical party. ... I fear however should you 
come out you will miss very much the congenial 
circle of ministers which you must break from 
in leaving Dublin. You will find a prejudice 
against you in the minds of some of the smaller 
clergymen here. It is natural that they should 
feel slighted by a call being given to you a for- 
eigner, which to some extent will be strengthened 
by the prejudice against Irishmen in particular; 
and there is a strong party, both in the Presby- 
terian church and out of it called the 'Native 
American ' party, who would not scruple to use 


the cry of foreign birth against you, if it suited 
their ends, and any cry of this kind is dangerous 
with a people like the Americans, who are natur- 
ally illogical and impulsive, and therefore dog- 
matic and apt to be carried away by their feelings 
so as to see the end aimed at only, and for means 
do, what, after calmer consideration they are 
sorry for. 

"As to America itself (remember I am trying 
to bring up all the objections I can at present) 
you would be much pained by the toadyism to 
the moneyed aristocracy (by far the worst kind 
of an aristocracy) and by the purse-proudness of 
many (even among Christians) and by the gen- 
eral feeling of the omnipotence of the Almighty 

"The education of your children would, I 
think, be another serious obstacle. I would be 
hooted at for hinting at such a thing, but my feel- 
ing is that here the education is very superficial; 
though I confess 1 do not intimately know it, but 
only the results. . . . Again the rates of liv- 
ing are so high that in Ireland I believe one could 
be more comfortable on ^^500 than on ;!^i,ooo 
here, and in many things the tastes, feelings and 
ideas of Americans so differ from ours, that I 
think you would never be so happy here as in 


Ireland, and indeed I believe it would be a per- 
sonal sacrifice your coming out here, which 
should only be made in consideration of the Im- 
portant place you are called to fill, believing that 
it is the Master's call, and that it is He who has 
opened such a wide field for you to labor in." 

Not all the letter is quite in this strain, at the 
same time other and personal considerations are 
dwelt upon. My father had in no way com- 
mitted himself in his letters to Mr. Stuart and at 
one point in his deliberations words from certain 
quarters urging him to stay would, probably 
have decided him for Ireland. Those words 
were not spoken. He felt that he could be 
spared, and that the call from over the water 
was the voice of Providence, and he said finally 

The moment that word was spoken there was 
such a tremendous appeal made, and such a 
commotion in many circles that my father was 
fairly stunned. He had always with the utmost 
vigor upheld Presbyterianism against the claims, 
often he thought haughty and arrogant, of the 
Established Church. Courteously yet firmly and 
constantly he battled for what he considered a 
more thoroughgoing and scriptural Protestantism 
than the somewhat High Church Establishment. 


What then was his pleasure and his astonishment 
to find some of the very warmest and strongest 
protests against his going coming from those 
whom he had already begun to put his armor 
on to fight. The Roman Catholics had good 
words for him, and letters came from far-off 
Connaught asking that he stay and fight out the 
battle of the spelling-book which he had so 
bravely carried on. The disestablishment party 
in the church saw their supposed feeble minority 
left without a leader; and now earnest words 
were spoken by even those whose opposition 
and silence had made my father feel that as a 
young man in a very leading position his place 
was one of great difficulty, even to the imperil- 
ling the peace of the church. He profoundly felt 
that after the struggles in which the church had 
been engaged, and in the face of the difficulties 
without, peace within was a first necessity. 
To secure that peace was one of the motives that 
led him to be willing to go. Now he had said 
"yes," and all protests were in vain. Friends of 
my father — I never heard him himself complain 
of it, — felt that the Rutland Square congregation 
had not dealt generously with him. He had made 
pecuniary sacrifices to come to them. When 
Mr. Findlater built the church he distinctly inti- 


mated, in the letter already quoted, that he ex- 
pected the congregation to support the ministry 
liberally. There had been no adequate recogni- 
tion of the greatly increased labors flung on the 
shoulders of the younger man, by the larger con- 
gregation and the declining strength of Dr. 
Kirkpatrick. Now that he was going the mis- 
take was seen, but it was too late. It only re- 
mained by great public meetings and addresses, 
as well as by memorial silver to show how 
strongly fastened were the ties that bound the 
pastor to the people he was so soon to leave. 
To his friend Dr. Magee he wrote at once saying: 

II Eccles Street, Dublin, 

iSth August, i86y. 
My Dear Friend : 

Your kind letter certainly moved my feelings very much, 
though my judgment remains as I had formed it after a careful 
and serious survey of all the circumstances which a minister 
should take into vievif in determining his duty in a case of this 
kind. Everything that formed a reason for my coming to 
Dublin has its stronger counterpart in reference to New York. 
If the Church is apparently dependent on such men as I am, 
remaining, it may be the best discipline for her in the present 
temper of the majority of her members to have a few such re- 
moved. I am sensible of the strength of the case made by the 
Rutland Square people, but then any circumstance of ease, 
comfort, society or business would withdraw any family among 
them from us. Many whom I know most as friends are prov- 
identially removed or removing and I should have only to do in 
detail, what is now to be done with much pain to myself at 
once. I always valued — much more than I can say — the 


sympathy and affection of a few college friends among whom 
you stand m a foremost place, but I often felt as if the prom- 
inence of the place I was, without any fault of mine, put in, 
and the multiplicity of duties to be done, deprived me of the 
enjoyment of as much of this blessing as I might otherwise 
have had. I am glad of the good-feeling of the young people, 
to which you kindly allude, but I do not think it would be at 
all just to Dr. Kirkpatrick and myself to alter the opinion I had 
formed, and in some measure indicated, on account of the new 
proposals.! jje and perhaps some others — of whom I know 
you were not one — blamed me for setting him aside (or sanc- 
tioning that course) partially — how much more if I were a 
party to doing it altogether ? Nor, in other points of view, 
would the proposed arrangement long continue consistently 
with our self-respect, independence of feeling, and general 
comfort. But my reason for going, though founded on a con- 
joint view of all the circumstances, rest more on the facts in 
connexion with New York, and if spared to live and labor 
there, I shall always retain the friendships of other and less 
care-laden times, and always be to you as I am sure you will 
be to me a sympathizing, cordially appreciating, college and 
Christian friend, 

J. Hall. 

Meantime letters in abundance pressing the 
claims of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church 
came to hand, and the news of the hearty char- 
acter of the call gave an additional reason for 
prompt acceptance. The session of the Church 
had issued a circular to the members who were 
scattered for the vacation, as follows: 

■ Dr. Kirkpatrick had intimated generously to the congrega- 
tion that he was ready to step aside to enable them to retain his 


New York, July 18, 1S67. 
Dear Sir : 

The Session of the Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue, 
corner of Nineteenth Street, respectfully calls your attention to 
the communication which follows : 

Those members of the congregation who have had the op- 
portunity of hearing the Rev. Dr. Hall, of Dublin, preach, 
have, we believe, without exception, expressed a desire that he 
should be called to our Church. In the scattered condition of 
our congregation, usual at this season of the year, we do not 
feel justified in calling a meeting to consider the subject with- 
out giving an opportunity to all members of the congregation 
to be present, and to express their views. 

We, therefore, take this method of informing you that a 
meeting of the congregation will be held on Wednesday 
EVENING, July 31st, at the Lecture Room of the Church, at 
half-past seven o' clock. 

At that meeting it is our intention to nominate Rev. John 
Hall, D. D., as Pastor of our Church, and to recommend him 
most cordially. 

We are happy to say that we have encouragement to believe 
that he will accept a call from us, if he can obtain the consent 
of his people. 

The circumstances of the case, are, in our judgment, such as 
to make early action necessary. 

If, from any cause, you should be unable to attend the meeting, 
you will very much oblige us by addressing a note to William 
Walker, No. 69 Liberty Street, or either of the undersigned, 
stating your approval or disapproval of the proposed call. 
We are. 

Yours respectfully, 

William Walker, 
Thomas U. Smith, 
James M. Halsted, 
David Hoadley, 
Henry G. De Forest, 
Henry Day. 


The official letter giving notice of the formal 
call and enclosing the papers was delayed, but 
the clerk of the session, and the lifelong friend 
of my father, Mr. William Walker, sent at once 
a letter stating the full result. The letter read: 

New York, j4u^. t, iSby. 
My dear Sir : 

I have but little time before the sailing of the steamer to 
state that we had an unexpectedly large meeting of our con- 
gregation last evening, and with entire unanimity a call was 
made out for you. I received in addition about forty letters 
(representing probably seventy-five persons,) from those who 
could not be present at the meeting expressing their cordial ap- 
proval of the proposed call. 

The moderator was pleased to say that he had never been 
present at a congregational meeting so perfectly harmonious in 
their views. 

The salary proposed is g6,ooo in gold zxiA the free occupa- 
tion of a suitable dwelling-house. In addition the trustees 
were instructed to pay the expense of bringing your family 

I telegraphed you this day informing you of the call. 

The necessary papers will be forwarded as soon as they can 
be prepared. 

With the earnest prayer that your decision may be such that 
God may be glorified and His cause promoted, I am very truly 
Your brother in Christ, 

Wm. Walker. 

To this letter my father replied as below: 

Dublin, 20th August, iSfyj. 
My dear Sir : 

I have received your kind communication and several 

others on the same subject. I have weighed with much concern 


all the circumstances of which I think a minister should take ac- 
count in forming his judgment, and I see no reason to alter the 
opinion of which you and other friends have had indications 
already, that I should accept the invitation of your Church and 
remove to New York. The fact that I did not take any step 
towards a settlement in America, that I never contemplated it, 
the great and commanding importance of the field, the una- 
nimity of the members, and the urgent counsel of leading min- 
isters of the American Church are among the principal reasons 
that have led me — through a most painful struggle with feelings 
of personal and local attachment — to this conclusion. 

I have intimated my opinion to the congregation of Rutland 
Square through the Session, and upon their taking certain steps 
and begging my reconsideration of the case, I have again re- 
ported my unaltered opinion to them. I shall be guided by 
their convenience (as my colleague is just now in Amsterdam 
at the Evangelical Alliance Conference), as to the time of ask- 
ing the leave of the presbytery to resign ; but this, and I trust 
all other necessary steps can be taken so as to admit of my re- 
moval to New York with my family during the month of 
October. The probable time of the equinoctial gales, the 
time of a suitable steamer's sailing and other circumstances 
must determine the exact time of the month, and of this 
you shall have the earliest intimation possible in course of 

The cordial and harmonious action of the people is I trust 
an indication that this thing is of the Lord, and I hope they 
will not fail to beseech Him to crown the arrangement with 
His own blessing. I am deeply sensible of the importance of 
the work to which I go, and I shall enter upon it in dependence 
on Divine aid, and in expectation of that confidence and co- 
operation of Session and congregation of which it has been my 
happiness to enjoy so much hitherto. Believe me to be, dear 
Mr. Walker, 

Yours most faithfully in the truth, 

John Hall. 

Wm. Walker. Esquire. 


The parting from Dublin was made very seri- 
ous by the expressions on every hand of the loss 
the Church at large and the city sustained. Many 
interests had to be cared for. The Evangelical 
Witness passed into other hands, and became a 
weekly paper of great power, and is still the 
leading organ of the Presbyterian church as the 
Belfast Witness. The national education cause 
interested my father to the end of his life, and he 
saw the complete triumph of his views before 
many years had passed. The Episcopal church 
was disestablished, and, as he had predicted, 
prospered as never before on that very account. 
National education won its way and compelled 
the adhesion of even the extreme Roman Catho- 
lic party. The Presbyterians flung off the lead- 
ing strings of the Tory party and became intelli- 
gently and independently liberal, securing their 
own representation in the House of Commons, 
and ceasing from that day on to be the mere 
"tail to the Tory kite." 

It would be, at this date, impossible to repro- 
duce and tiresome to attempt it, the many 
printed estimates and criticisms of the eighteen 
years of public service in Ireland. Yet one esti- 
mate in the Evangelical Witness after it had 
passed from under his control is worth repro- 


duction, as it is from tlie pen of the Rev. Thomas 
Croskerry of Londonderry, who at that time 
wielded large influence and whose services in 
connection with the Evangelical Witness are still 
fresh in the minds of Irish readers. The article 
condensed somewhat was as follows: 

The Rev. Dr. Hall. 
" Our gifted predecessor, after a brief but dis- 
tinguished ministry of eighteen years, has left his 
native country to spend the remainder of his 
days in the service of American Presbyterianism. 
His departure is a subject of universal and un- 
feigned regret. It is, however, a subject of just 
pride and congratulation that he will nobly rep- 
resent, in another land, the power and versatility 
of that Scotch-Irish race which the historian, 
Bancroft, has glorified in connection with the 
civil and ecclesiastical history of America. It is 
almost unnecessary to say to Irish Presbyterians 
what Dr. Hall was to the church of his fathers. 
The pulpit was the throne of his power. He 
was no talker of drawling platitudes or explana- 
tory futilities, with affected rhetoric or artificial 
turns of phrase, or mental inanity, whose ser- 
mons act upon part of a congregation like chlo- 
roform, while they drive another portion into 


thinking of nothing, a third into wondering 
when the preacher will be done, a fourth into 
ill-natured criticism, and a fifth out of church al- 
together. He was something more than a mere 
pounder of texts in a doctrinal mortar; some- 
thing more than a dry, didactic talker after modes 
beaten flat by the incessant hammering of cen- 
turies. In fact. Dr. Hall was one of the freshest 
preachers of the age. He preached, too, as he 
talked, with a fine conversational freedom and 
naturalness, and was so singularly lucid and 
happy in expression that he was, to our mind, 
the Goldsmith and Franklin, in one, of the Irish 
pulpit. His sermons — some of them, if rumor is 
to be credited, like Jonah's gourd, the offspring 
of a single night — are powerful from their heav- 
enly unction, their beseeching tenderness, their 
popular scope, and, above all, their wide range 
of analogical illustration. He was, indeed, sin- 
gularly skillful in analogies, in the structure of 
those ' aerial pontoons ' which bridge across the 
literal and the figurative. It is, perhaps, the 
highest praise of Dr. Hall's sermons and speeches 
that they do not read well, for it is a well-known 
fact that the newspaper speech which is polished 
and rounded, and Ciceronian in its periods, is 
anything but popular or pleasing to an audience. 


We must say, however, that the speeches of our 
gifted friend were such fresh and familiar tran- 
scripts of good sense and feeling, with a certain 
rich zest and flavor and power about them, that 
the reader could always associate the image of 
the speaker with every paragraph, and his ear 
seemed to catch and recognize the very tones of 
living address. His speeches were always short. 
Let it be said to his credit that he always ex- 
hibited, in debate, a high-bred Christian courtesy, 
and that he abstained from all those weapons of 
fierce and sarcastic recrimination which do so 
much to lower the moral status as well as lessen 
the influence of the ministry. 

"We cannot well estimate the amount of his 
various labors for our denominational benefit, 
whether as a preacher, as a journalist, or as a 
director of education. For six years, in the midst 
of endless concerns of public and private ur- 
gency, in the metropolis of the country, where 
he was surrounded by all the social temptations of 
the popular preacher, he sustained the Evangel- 
ical fVitness, without a farthing of help from 
public or private funds, and did vast service to 
the Presbyterian cause by defending and explain- 
ing Presbyterianism, by correcting the errors and 
chastising the heresies of the times, by rebuking 


the exclusiveness and intolerance of Churchmen, 
and, above all, by cherishing the literary spirit 
in our ministers. For nine years, he was occu- 
pied in raising Dublin Presbyterianism to that 
proud and commanding position it held in the 
days when Joseph Boyse preached to a thousand 
hearers in Wood Street, including the Darners, 
and Langfords, and Loftuses, of high descent; 
and for eighteen years he has been conspicuous, 
in the ranks of his brethren, not merely for great 
eloquence and great force of character, but as a 
man of unblemished integrity, of tried courage, 
of large benevolence, of unaffected piety — a man 
whose views were always tolerant and liberal, 
his convictions deep and hearty, with few antip- 
athies and many sympathies, yet his career, in 
all its stages, marked by decision. We can think 
of his life proudly and thankfully, as of the 
course of a river filling its channel from bank to 
bank, moving onwards by the force of its own 
ample stream, and, with effortless ministry, 
watering the fields and the flowers on either 



I come to Thee, gracious Lord, 
As taught in Thy most holy word 
In Christ Thy Son, I do believe, 
And for His sake the world I leave. 

Teach me in faith and hope to live. 
And to this end Thy spirit give, 
That I may run the appointed race, 
Sustain me by Thy heavenly grace. 

Guide me through life, supply my needs. 
Keep me from all unrighteous deeds, 
And when death comes oh ! let it be 
That I may live, O Lord, with Thee. 

— John Hall. 





IT was a beautiful warm autumn day when 
after a long, but on the whole pleasant trip, 
the extra Cunard Steamship Aleppo brought 
my father and his family to the dock at New 
York. A long-trusted and loved housekeeper 
and two servants accompanied the party. The 
four little boys all arrayed in Scotch caps and the 
belts and blouses worn in those days by school 
children in Ireland, but unknown in America, are 
said to have attracted an attention of which the 
wearers were happily unconscious. Nothing 
could have exceeded the kindness and thought- 
fulness of those who had made provision for the 
comfort of the future minister. The dwelling- 
house was in every way suitable, and was most 
fitly furnished. In a letter of that year (9th of 
December, 1867), the impressions made are de- 
scribed in a letter to Dr. Hamilton IVlagee : 



My Dear Friend: 

As I write in the dining-room, the living-room of our house, 
for here the drawing-room is called " parlor," you and the other 
brethren look down on me from over the clock, and recall all 
the days and evenings of labor and enjoyment in Dublin. The 
Lord's goodness has been signal and conspicuous. I feel as 
much at home as if the weeks had been months, to say the least 
of it. Our communion — held yesterday — was exceedingly 
pleasant, very like Rutland Square, only that the afternoon 
time is given to it. We received about thirty new communi- 
cants, nearly twenty of them on profession of faith which, in 
some instances is made at an age we should count childhood at 
home. I have begun with ordinary sermons that I might not 
pitch the standard of expectation higher than I could honestly 
keep up — have eschewed all attempts at sensationalism, and told 
the people that our reliance must be upon the steady, patient 
teaching of divine truth. So far the Church displays all the 
signs of interest. The building is comfortable ; the elders, I 
think right-minded men, and I suppose I have heard as many 
as twenty or thirty laymen offer up prayer in public very ap- 
propriately. There is a fine field here for work, and a readi- 
ness I think to value an evangelical ministry. I hope to begin 
a down-town mission service on Friday evenings — we live " up- 
tovifn." This I find surprises the folk, the approved way 
hitherto being for the up-town people to pay students, etc., to do 
this work. Mission-schools are the hobby of our congregation, 
and they are good, but skilled labor is a little wanted. I hope 
to begin my Bible-class for ladies by the opening of the year. 
Preparation is no more difficult here than at home, and I have 
written several sermons — strange as it may seem — since I 
came ! 

Now I want you to tell the dear brethren of the ministers' 
meeting — that I am trying to be what they would have me (be) 
as their representative in New York. . . . 
Ever, my dear Hamilton, 

Your affectionate friend, 

J. Hall. 


The Church itself had had a most honorable 
history which perhaps had up to that time 
reached its climax in the long and most success- 
ful ministry of Dr. James Alexander, the imme- 
diate predecessor of Dr. Rice, whose failing health, 
and, perhaps, supposed southern sympathies, had 
prevented his undoubted worth and ability being 
fully recognized. The war had closed, and many 
southern people found themselves attracted by 
the theology of the Old School to which wing the 
Church naturally had belonged, and by the fact 
that Dr. Rice did not say anything that was likely 
to wound their feelings. There were however 
also intensely northern partisans. It was the 
good fortune of the Church to secure as a min- 
ister one who could unite both wings. The con- 
gregation had worshipped in several buildings. 
The old Cedar Street Church having been built in 
1808. Then the Church moved to Duane Street, 
which building was erected in 1835. In 1852 a 
new building on Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth 
Street was entered, and in this building my father 
began his New York ministry. The Church still 
is used having been moved stone by stone to 
Fifty-seventh Street near Eighth Avenue, where 
with some changes it stands as in the former 
days. The traditions of the Church carried it 


over to the Old School, but in the congregation 
were New School men, attracted by the elo- 
quence and the learning of Dr. Alexander. Here 
again it was my father's good fortune to be iden- 
tified in no way with the old dispute. Naturally 
attracted to the older theology, he found much 
that was sympathetic in the warmer evangelical 
spirit of the New School thought. Of Albert 
Barnes he once wrote : ' 

"And then came the end of Albert Barnes' 
labors. It was like the life that preceded it, life 
and death of a piece. Meek, laborious, system- 
atic, gentle, he sat in the chair of a departed 
friend to give comfort to the survivors, when the 
Lord's messenger touched him, and said, 'Arise, 
and follow me;' and he arose and entered 
through the gates into the city, wondering, we 
may well believe, whether it was a vision, or 
whether that was true which was done by the 
angel. But it was soon all real ; all happy ; all 
homelike; 'absent from the body, and at home 
with the Lord.' " 

For Dr. William Adams' affection and admira- 
tion mingled from their first meeting at the New 
School Assembly in Rochester in 1867 to the close 
of Dr. Adams' life. The stately dignity of the 

1 The A?nerican Messenger, March, 187 1. 


man, together with the gentle pervasive courtesy 
in tone and manner that so distinguished the 
great New School leader, appealed with special 
power to my father. Quite frequently, particu- 
larly in his earlier experience in America he was 
offended by the "slap-dash, slap-on-the-back " 
(as he called it) type of minister, who mistakes 
rude familiarity for ease, and substitutes brusque- 
ness for straightforwardness. He had been 
naturally thrown as a delegate from Ireland into 
connection with both Assemblies, and the at- 
tachments thus formed he used to good effect in 
the following years of rapid approach on the 
part of the two Assemblies. 

Already in 1867 men were talking about a pos- 
sible reunion of the Church. It was impossible 
for one coming so recently to the country to take 
with good grace any leading part in such a move- 
ment. Yet it was with earnest and hopeful 
solicitude that he watched each step towards such 
a consummation, and no one rejoiced more sin- 
cerely in the ultimate result than did the new- 
comer to American shores. The union was com- 
pleted in 1869 when at Pittsburg the two As- 
semblies came together, and on the plan of 
mutual forbearance and reasonable liberty the 
Church became one. In accordance with his in- 


stincts my father turned at once to the United 
Church for a better support for educational insti- 
tutions, and particularly for a larger and deeper 
conception of the culture and learning needed in 
the ministry. In an appeal to the United Church, 
headed, "What Next?" he urged the chief ad- 
vantages of the reunion. He asked in the 
columns of the Evangelist, 

"And for what are we one ? To overshadow 
or absorb other churches ? No. That were a 
poor and unchristian ambition. Let our Metho- 
dist brethren cry aloud ' ye must be born again,' 
and sanctify social sympathies; let our Congrega- 
tional friends assert all human liberties under 
divine lordship — the very freaks of their free- 
dom are better than the decay and decency of 
despotism; let our Baptist brethren make the 
wilderness a pool of water; let our evangelical 
Episcopalians — we have nothing to say for the 
other sort — make prayer common everywhere. 
They are all needed by the country, needed with 
us, perhaps, to present the full-orbed truth. Let 
them all render their parts in the anthem of 
American praise to Jehovah. When they all sing 
their loudest, many places are still silent; and in 
many their voice is not heard. Be our aim to 
swell the cry — not to silence other voices. We 


have a share in their graces and successes, and 
they in ours, by that prerogative of saints, ' all 
things are yours'; and if we turn our union to 
true and spiritual account, they ought all to be the 
better for it. 

" One thing seems by common consent agreed 
upon, that the colleges and seminaries of the 
Church must be placed upon a better foundation. 
We are now employing the first men in the 
country, on incomes shamefully inadequate. It 
is vain to expect that talent and culture can be 
long retained in our service under the pressure of 
cares that belittle and vex; and that vex specially 
the best order of minds — minds that do not give 
a thought to the privations of poverty, but are 
chafed by its meanness, by enforced small sa- 
vings and compulsory checks upon every generous 

" The ministry of the Word has similar just 
ground of complaint. But nine out of ten min- 
isters will not teach their people duty on this 
matter. How many ministers of the Presbyte- 
rian Church have fairly expounded to their people 
I Cor. 9 ? The press must speak out on this 
subject, and laymen must take it in hand. The 
better-supported ministers, too, who can speak 
on this point without the suspicion or appearance 


of pleading their own cause, must come to the 
help, not of their brethren, but of the church 
they serve. It is worth considering whether ef- 
fort judiciously and successfully laid out here, 
would not set the ministry free of ill conditions 
that now repel some who could educate them- 
selves, and so swell the incomes of our educa- 
tional institutions, and promote other desirable 
objects. Promptly and frankly invited to the 
columns of The Evangelist, in the spirit of the 
union, it would be a great joy and honor to the 
present writer if he could make any contribution 
to the Church's efficiency in these directions." 

In another place he ventured to criticise the 
methods by which students were helped into the 
ministry; methods which he could not but feel 
undermined their self-respect, and jeopardized 
their standing in the community. Dr. Hodge 
took him very sharply to task for his opinions on 
this subject, but they remained his opinions to 
the end. 

Very early in his ministry good ladies asked 
him to read a notice from the pulpit asking for 
cast-off clothing for the theological students at 
Princeton. He refused to do it, and explained 
his reasons. To him it seemed unworthy of the 
manhood and womanhood of the church to treat 


those who were to be leaders and teachers as ob- 
jects of a careless charity of this kind. He had 
no objection to the church training her ministry, 
but her methods he thought altogether wrong, 
and traced to those methods much of the restless- 
ness and inefficiency among the ministers and 
churches. It was a habit of his to watch the 
news column of the weekly religious press, and 
when he saw that the " Rev. Mr. A. of Boom- 
town had had a most remarkable ministry full of 
success, and had just added thirty souls to the 
communion roll," he said he expected soon either 
a note asking his aid in a change for Mr. A. or a 
paragraph stating that the Rev. Mr. A. contem- 
plated a period of rest after his labors. 

One of the things which he mourned and be- 
wailed in common with Dr. Adams was the 
crowd of relatively irresponsible book agents, 
insurance solicitors, and unattached ministers 
who filled up the presbyteries, and destroyed 
often the fraternal confidence which alone makes 
the presbytery an efficient body. It remained 
also his opinion to the end that Professors of 
Theology should be admitted as active elders to 
the churches, and that only so should they have 
full recognition in the counsels of the church. 
The flitting of ministers he attributed to the fault 


of both churches and pastors. Many ministers, 
he said, reminded him of the little sparrows on 
the roof which keep their wings twitching all the 
time ready at any time to fly on the slightest im- 

My father thought very highly of American 
speaking. He was wont to contrast English 
speaking with the American type of easy natural 
address, such as is so often heard on the plat- 
form or at the dinner-table. He did not think so 
highly of American preaching, highly as he es- 
timated the best preachers. Very gently he 
sought to intimate as much in his early ministry. 
After the reunion he wrote an article that was 
much quoted on "What the reunion could not 
do." The italics in the selection from it are his 
own. In it among other things he said: 

"There are many desirable objects which the 
United Church cannot effect by any direct agency. 
She cannot, for example, make all her ministers 
good preachers. If a man is inclined to air his 
vocabulary or indulge in metaphysical specula- 
tion, in his sermons, he will not be immediately 
altered by being in the United Church. Or if he 
cultivate 'simplicity' until it becomes childish- 
ness, or mistake foolish preaching for 'the fool- 
ishness of preaching,' the union will not instantly 


change him. This is a matter outside the power 
of the General Assemblies. Presbyteries indeed 
can use greater care in admitting to the place of 
preachers those who are destitute of the power 
to preach; but as regards those of us who are 
licensed, our preaching must depend on our con- 
gregations first, and secondly on ourselves. If 
our people weary and harass us with a multiplic- 
ity of small matters they could better manage 
themselves; if they demand that we swell the 
pomp of every social gathering, sit through every 
committee, and be on hand generally for any- 
thing and everything, then we shall be inferior 
preachers. The same unhappy end can be 
reached by forcing a portion of our strength 
away from our work, as for example, to the ac- 
quirement of further means of living, or the pain- 
ful and anxious economy of what we have. 

" Much depends on ourselves. If we live 
mainly among books and little among men; if 
we defer the severe labor of composition till the 
end of the week, and then think how to get re- 
spectably through for the Sabbath, intending to 
do better next week ; if we take no pains to 
know the points at which we and the message 
we carry can come into contact with the minds 
of our hearers; then plainly our preaching power 


will be small, even though the union were a 
thousand times more glorious than it is. But our 
preaching power is our real power, and there is 
not one among us that will not own that he 
could have made much more of it. While there- 
fore the great event of our time cannot in this re- 
spect improve us, it were surely a good time for 
our people and ourselves to seek that improve- 
ment. A living church will always be a preach- 
ing Church. The decay of the pulpit goes hand 
in hand with the decay of piety, partly as cause, 
and partly as effect. We shall be strong when 
men shall feel that where the church is Presby- 
terian, the strong presumption is that there will 
be in it thoroughly good preaching." 

As a preacher his own success in New York 
was instantaneous. In the letter already quoted 
(page 194) to his friend Dr. Magee he dwells 
upon the simplicity which adorned his preaching 
to the end. His first sermon was preached on 
November the 3d on the text Isa. 52 : 7, " How 
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him 
that bringeth good tidings, etc." The sermon 
dwelt upon the poetical character of the passage, 
and the beauty of the language, then expounded 
the substance of the message — a message of 
peace, through forgiveness of sin and loving re- 


lations established in Christ Jesus. This early 
preaching was characteristic of the preaching of 
the lifetime. Old sermons were often refused, 
and my father not only did not despise repreach- 
ing of sermons but thought that the self-criticism 
of the process, if the second preparation was as 
conscientious as it ought to be, was an actual 
benefit both to the preacher and his people. 
Later in Hfe he published his volume on "God's 
word through preaching" in the "Lyman 
Beecher Lecture " course before the Yale Theo- 
logical Seminary, in which he set forth fully his 
views of preaching in method and spirit. He 
also wrote at one time an interesting little auto- 
biographical sketch of his pulpit progress, of 
which a few extracts are appended. 

"Among the gifted professors of the Theolog- 
ical Seminary," he writes, "of which I enjoyed 
the advantages were two men of conspicuous 
prominence as preachers. Dr. Henry Cooke and 
Dr. John Edgar were unlike in style and manner, 
but each enjoyed the public confidence and com- 
manded the attention of the community. They 
were not only instructors in principles and in 
methods; they were examples and inspirers. No 
minister of prominence in the Presbyterian 
Church of Ireland, of that day, read his manu- 


script in the pulpit. A certain proportion of its 
six hundred pastors, at the present time how- 
ever, read carefully prepared discourses. 

" It was the rule of the classes for the student to 
receive texts, and to preach from them before the 
professor and the class, and to receive such criti- 
cism from the professor upon arrangement, mat- 
ter, and manner, as he felt to be proper. The 
sermons were commonly memorized and given 
verbally as written. Reading was not the order 
of those — to the preacher, solemn occasions. 

" We were not, of course, taught that memori- 
zing the language was to be our enduring method, 
but that careful writing contributed to order, 
clearness, correctness of description, and definite- 
ness. All my experience since my student-days 
confirms that impression. 

"My ministry began, and continued for three 
years, in somewhat peculiar conditions, the con- 
'gregations consisting of the Protestant Gentry, 
not Presbyterians, a few Presbyterians, and the 
majority not only not used to Protestant, but 
many of them not used to the English language. 
It was necessary to prepare to speak in such a 
way as to interest the educated and at the same 
time to be intelligible to the rest of the hearers. 
It was not uncommon to deliver a carefully pre- 


pared sermon in the forenoon, to go, frequently 
on foot, seven or eight miles in the afternoon, 
and repeat it to a corresponding congregation, in 
the evening. The experience of the morning 
sometimes led to modifications in the evening. 
What seemed to be obscure to the hearers in the 
morning was clarified as much as possible in the 
delivery to the evening hearers. 

" It appeared to be my duty, at length, to come 
from the ' West of Ireland ' to my native coun- 
try, and take charge of the First Presbyterian 
Church, in succession to a pastor of great culture 
and of high character. The congregation in- 
cluded a large portion of the educated people of 
the city, and the rest — one half the congregation 
— consisted of comfortable farmers all around it, 
within a radius of two to three miles. The same 
necessity existed for sermons that would be edi- 
fying to the city people without being ' over the 
heads' of the rural members. The writing of 
the sermons went on as before, but with a little 
less reproduction in speaking of the language as 
written. The topics were selected early in the 
week. It was needful to go into the rural dis- 
tricts for week evening sermons, in schoolhouses 
and in farmers' houses, and while preparation 
was made for discourses for these meetings, it 


was less formal than for the Lord's day, consist- 
ing of 'abstracts,' or 'notes,' with a system of 
contractions both of sentences and of words, of 
my own invention. 

" It was then common to arrange topics in a 
series, so that preparation in reading could be 
carried on in advance, and also to have one of the 
two services expository — a method of teaching 
which many people need, and which saves the 
pastor from the dreary soliloquy, ' 1 wonder 
what 1 should preach on next Sabbath.' The 
expositions did not require as much writing, but 
quite as much study, as did the sermons; and it 
was found to be a help to regular attendance by 
the best of the people, when they naturally said: 
' I would hke to hear the rest of what he has to 
say on that line,' of subjects or of an Epistle, or 
a minor prophet. 

"After half-a-dozen happy years in the capital 
of my native county, at the urgent request of 
brethren to whom I looked up, I was removed 
to the capital of my native land, to be colleague 
to a saintly pastor whose name I write down 
with affectionate remembrance, Rev. Wm. B. 
Kirkpatrick, D. D. For the first year or two 1 
had only to preach once each Sabbath in our own 
pulpit, but my brethren of various denominations 


were very good to me, and afforded opportunities 
to preach when I was not needed in our Mary's 

" It is proper to say — as already mentioned that 
every word is not written down, nor every word 
in full. One learns to contract sentences, keep- 
ing in its place every determining word, and to 
contrast also, familiar words. One incidental 
advantage of this it may be allowable to mention. 
When a gentlemanly reporter asks for the sermon 
the true reply : ' I write out, but with a system 
of abbreviation a printer could not use,' is 'a 
saving' — in several directions.' 

" It would be natural to say: 'What is the use 
of writing in this way?' The answer I give 
might not be pertinent in other cases. The 
writer can only speak for himself. One has 
often general ideas, indefinite views partly from 
the feeling, partly from the judgment. To put 
them down distinctly tends to remove the nebu- 
lous element, and makes them communicable ; 
for how can an audience catch an idea which the 
speaker cannot put into lucid expression ? 
Conciseness is thus produced, and the mind is 
helped to follow the natural sequence of ideas. 
What one sees under heads 1, 11, and 111, with 
perhaps, orderly items (i), (2), (3), and practical 


applications (a), (b), (c), will usually be more 
orderly, easier of recollection, and more intelligi- 
ble than would be an extemporaneous address 
however much thought out. There is moreover — 
the writer now speaks for himself — a certain relief 
to the mind when one can say to his own con- 
science: 'It is a poor sermon for such a grand 
theme, but it is the best that I can do.' It may 
not be improper to add that 1 have, many a time, 
outlined the topics for thanksgiving, confession, 
and petition in prayer, so as to give the best ex- 
pression 1 could to what the people should, and 
would, join in presenting before the Father's 

The building at Nineteenth Street was soon 
packed at each service. Camp-chairs were placed 
down each aisle. The inconvenience to pew- 
holders of the coming of strangers into their 
pews gave rise to complaint; and promptly six 
of the most influential, and one or two of them 
the oldest, members in the session and board of 
trustees took upon themselves the task of seat- 
ing the strangers, and made in many ways the 
church one of the pleasantest to visit. When 
Mr. Robert L. Stewart or Mr. Henry Day asked 
any one if they could seat a stranger, a refusal 
was given only in case of disagreeable necessity. 


The services being in the morning and after- 
noon, my father preached almost regularly on 
Sunday evenings in some other church, and his 
voice was soon familiar in almost all the Evangel- 
ical Churches of New York and Brooklyn. 

Into the New York pastorate was brought the 
same systematic pastoral work that had marked 
his Dublin and Armagh periods. Day after day 
he sought out the members of his flock, high and 
low, visiting with caretaking system family after 
family, watching over those employed in house- 
holds with the same diligence as those who em- 
ployed. From time to time he visited the busi- 
ness section of the city, and although seldom 
sitting down, he yet visited the offices of the 
business and professional men. He liked to 
know, he said, where and how they work. The 
sick he visited regularly, and doctors who are 
often and, sometimes reasonably, suspicious of 
ministers' visits to their serious cases, have told 
the writer that they made exception in the case 
of my father, whose low accents and ready 
tact and short ministrations encouraged and 
strengthened and soothed, where less skillful or 
sympathetic visitation would have excited and 
done harm. 

For purely social engagements he had no time. 


The number of houses where he ever dined in 
a formal social way could be numbered on his 
fingers. He felt in later life, that he perhaps had 
neglected opportunities along this line. Yet he 
never saw exactly what other course, under 
the circumstances, he could have pursued. That 
that which is known as the " social world " was 
altogether out of his range and knowledge he 
felt with some degree of sadness. 

All that was harmless and innocent he thought 
should be in contact with the religious life, 
yet many things he was opposed to, which 
Christian feeling he deeply respected considered 
innocent. Thus he never thought the theatre 
anything but an evil, and though fond of music, 
even if in an untrained way, yet he never went 
where he thought the prejudices of any would 
be offended, and when abroad he always resisted 
the inducements often held out to him by friends 
to go to the opera, unwilling to do abroad what 
he would not do at home. 

Yet he had abundant charity when he was sure 
that Christian judgment was convinced that an- 
other course was proper. "I am not a police- 
man," he once said to one who playfully con- 
fessed a fondness for the theatre, "I am only an 
adviser. 1 advise you not to go, but to your 


Saviour alone you stand or fall in such matters; 
I may be wrong." And once writing in the 
Christian Intelligencer he put the case strongly, 

"Let us not as Christian ministers under- 
take to pronounce upon amusements, discrimina- 
ting which is good, which is bad, and when an 
innocent becomes a sinful game. For one thing, 
we have more dignified work to do than to 
measure the comparative qualities of all the pas- 
times of the people, from 'fox and goose' up- 
ward or downward. For another, our oracle 
will be construed in ways we never intended. 
We approve, for example, of square dances, not 
of round. Well, the devil will soon put the 
mischievous elements of the dance we condemn 
into that we approve; and we are now in a 
worse case than before, for the evil proceeds 
with our approval, and we cannot turn dancing- 
masters to oppose it, nor be always on hand to 
point it out. 

"For yet another thing, this plan minimises 
Christian people. ' Our minister allows so and 
so;' 'Our pastor disapproves of so and so.' 
What! have you no judgment, no conscience, no 
Bible ? or are they packed away like children's 
knives, lest they should cut their innocent fingers. 


while a clerical mamma, or a Rev. ' Father' does 
all the serious cutting ? Let me be a preacher, a 
teacher, a writer, if I can; but let me never be- 
come that compound of vanity, ambition, love of 
power, misguided zeal and distorted religion, ' a 
spiritual director.' We are helpers of the peo- 
ple's faith. Saintliness as well as sex forbids our 
being degraded into duennas." 

Many thought on account of his firm views on 
such subjects that they had to be hypocrites to 
him. But that was not the case. Some of his 
dearest friends differed from him and he had 
only to be sure that they were acting con- 
scientiously, and for him the matter was settled. 
He might think them mistaken, but he left the 
final decision to themselves. 

For his judgment in even business matters men 
versed in such things had a profound respect. 
As he went in and out as a pastor his worth as a 
friend and helpful adviser was recognized. His 
correspondence up to the day of his death reveals 
the thousand avenues of his influence as his 
counsel was sought for far and wide. In his 
pastoral work he sought to bring forward the 
spiritual interests he had at heart. Where it was 
possible and it could be tactfully done he sought 
to have prayer with those whom he visited. Of 


course in a great city this was not always pos- 
sible. But sooner or later on occasion of trouble 
or loss or difficulty he came as the bearer of a 
message into nearly every family of his congre- 
gation. And even after the first shock had laid 
the foundation for the trouble that ended his life, 
he toiled patiently up high flights of stairs, often, 
in vain, seeking those who sometimes had but 
the barest claims upon his ministry. A physi- 
cian who knew him only by sight was deeply 
moved in the spring of 1898 by seeing him lean- 
ing heavily and breathlessly on the balustrade 
toiling up three flights of stairs he should never 
have attempted to climb, as he sought out some 
one to whom he was bringing his message of 
peace and hope. 




It rises in silence and splendor 

In the light of a better day ; 
The lesson is touching and tender 

To the sufferers over the way. 

It points to the bells that are ringing 

In heaven, unheard here below, 
Where the choir celestial is singing 

Near the throne that is whiter than snow. 

The music of silence is sweeter 

Than the ringing of bells in towers ; 

It chords with the cadence whose metre 
Is sweet as the wind-harp in flowers. 

By the couches where patients are sleeping, 

And dreaming of visions above, 
Two angels their vigils are keeping — 

One is Mercy, the other is Love. 

Not even the clock that's revealing 

The passing away of the hour. 
Can disturb with dolorous pealing, 

Since Love struck it dumb in the tower. 

* Dr. John Hall's people refrained from hanging a bell in the tower of 
their church, and would not even suffer the clock to strike, lest the pa- 
tients in St. Luke's Hospital, then opposite, should be disturbed. 





NEW YORK in the years between 1867 and 
1870 was in many respects a very different 
city from tiie Greater New York of to-day. Nor 
is the new city altogether an improvement. The 
whole scale of living was simpler. The extremes 
of poverty only began to be apparent after 1873, 
and the city itself, if wholly lacking in architec- 
tural attractiveness, had yet an air of comfortable 
sufficiency written on even its byways. Even 
the gaudy Bowery, in those days the climax of 
rough looseness of life, was neither so squalid 
nor so repulsive as are similar situations in the 
greater city. At the same time there was writ- 
ten then on the face of New York the fact that the 
period was one of transition. The "old in- 
habitants" whose fishing stories included Canal 

Street in their hunting-grounds, felt that the 


movement up-town was not going to stop at 
Twenty-third Street. The insufficiency of the 
building at Nineteenth Street and Fifth Avenue to 
contain the congregation was made clear from 
the very first. In the beginning it was felt that 
the increase might perhaps be temporary, but 
the pastoral work that followed up the preaching 
made the pressure on the pews only greater from 
week to week. Moreover the visiting was more 
and more " up-town," and the drift of the popu- 
lation was manifest. At the same time Central 
Park seemed to supply a natural barrier, and 
when at last the demand for more room became 
imperative, many asked themselves, where can 
we go and be safe for years to come ? The an- 
swer to that question was not easy to give, and 
caused delay for some time. Many, and those 
thoughtful men, wanted simply to stay and build 
on the old site a larger church. Others thought 
that the neighborhood of Forty-first Street was 
as far up as the congregation could with safety 
go. At first a small number, but a graduately 
increasing one, decided that if the church moved 
it should move ahead of the centre of present 
population, and that by going near to the Central 
Park a fair permanency might be obtained. 
This view my father shared. He felt however 


that under all the circumstances the congregation 
must take the responsibility of any change. 

Already in July of the year 1868 there had come 
to the old Nineteenth Street Church the enterpri- 
sing owner of the family weekly paper which 
had then the widest circulation of any family 
paper in America, if not in the world. Mr. Rob- 
ert Bonner was of Scotch-Irish blood, and a man 
of prodigious energy and wonderful discernment 
and knowledge of men and things. He was at 
once attracted to my father and the two men, in 
many ways utterly unlike, became fast and life- 
long friends. He at once flung himself quietly 
but most efficiently into the affairs of the church. 
He was known and utterly trusted by the group 
of men, who one by one were taken away from 
the counsels of the church by death, until at last 
he remained well-nigh the only survivor at the 
time of my father's own decease. He was known 
all over the world as the owner of "Dexter " the 
famous trotter whose record has been beaten, but 
whose fame has never been surpassed. He how- 
ever had tried to explain to my father in a playful 
letter that he never trotted his horses for money, 
and never had them raced. Far-seeing and reso- 
lute Mr. Bonner had made up his mind very early 
just where the church should be built, and in 


quiet talks with those who had been longer in 
the church he succeeded in getting a number to 
share his views. He was moreover of the opin- 
ion advanced by Mr. R. L. Stuart, at that time 
the most influential officer in the church, that 
when the new building was undertaken it should 
be both in extent and character worthy of Pres- 
byterianism in the metropolitan city of the East. 
By 1872 the plans were well under way, and in 
a congregational meeting the resolution had 
already been carried, with practical unanimity to 
go up-town. Real estate was at that time counted 
high, and the price of the lots seemed to many 
enormous, although they could not now be 
bought, probably, for anything Hke the sum then 
paid. The plans for the building that now stands 
on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-fifth 
Street were approved and bonds were issued to 
secure the necessary funds. The correspondence 
of the years 1872 to 1877 are filled with the plans 
and pains attendant upon so large an enterprise. 
To "own a pew" meant in the Old World 
tradition family possession with the payment of 
a yearly tithe. This plan had been adopted 
with reference to the Nineteenth Street building, 
hence when the change was contemplated the 
"owners" of pews, in distinction from those 


simply renting them yearly from the trustees, in 
the old building had already claims for "owner- 
ship " in the pews of the new structure. In some 
ways this was felt to be unfortunate by several, 
yet on the other hand the plans for a change 
were fostered by those who were bound by the 
old tradition, and who felt they had a life inter- 
est in the material side of the church organiza- 

The building committee was a strong body of 
able men; the plans were made on a liberal scale, 
and the building was started. In spite of the fact 
that the panic of 1873 found many of the congre- 
gation financially imperilled, and notwithstanding 
the losses all suffered in the falling prices, the 
building proceeded steadily and was occupied in 

By this time my father had also removed 
his residence to No. 3 West Fifty-sixth Street, 
which house became the parsonage from that 
time until later lots were bought next the 
church, in part to protect its light and appearance, 
and on those lots a parsonage was then built. 
The debt, however, hanging over the church was 
a burden on my father's heart. Many were in- 
clined to let " another generation" bear some of 
the burdens. The minister felt the infelicity of 


such a course. He feared a possible vacancy in 
the pastoral office, and dreaded the ill-effects of a 
large debt on other churches. He found also that 
the benevolences of the church might suffer. 
Hence he strained his influence with the congre- 
gation to the utmost, and having the hearty 
support of Mr. Robert Bonner, whose total gifts 
far exceeded those of any other single individual, 
the debt was paid in the spring of 1877. This 
closing of the debt account was felt to begin a 
new era of activity. From this on the church 
became the centre of untold streams of influence, 
and the incessant labors of the pastor seemed to 
have no end and no limit. 

No sketch of my father's life would be accord- 
ing to his mind and heart without some record of 
that group of men who shared his earliest ministry 
in New York, and who remained his warm and en- 
thusiastic supporters until death took them one by 
one from each other. The two brothers Mr. R. L. 
and Alexander Stuart were among the first to 
welcome the young Irish delegate in 1867, and 
became warm advocates of the policy of calling 
him to America. The wealth at their disposal 
they gave freely and thoughtfully. They both 
had peculiarities, such as are often found in men 
of those earlier days, but they remained to the 


end of their lives faitliful and wise friends of my 
father. To Mr. Henry Day he was also devo- 
tedly attached; like Mr. De Forest, Mr. Henry 
Day stood openly upon a theological ground 
broader than was the tradition of the church. 
But for such differences my father had but little 
interest; he saw in the men the Christ-life, and 
honored it under other theological terms, while 
holding fast and deeming of importance his 
own theological forms. Very early Mr. William 
Walker was taken from the side of his pastor, 
and he was sorely missed. He was a peculiarly 
outspoken man, although gentle almost to weak- 
ness, and with him my father had profound 
spiritual sympathies. They shared some hopes 
and fears for the church together, about which 
my father seldom spoke to any other of his offi- 
cers. Upon Mr. William Sloane also my father 
leaned for many things. He honored Mr. Sloane's 
faithful personal services. As the treasurer of 
the church he did with his own hand in the 
midst of an exceedingly busy I'fe, work he re- 
fused to entrust to any clerk, as he felt it was of 
a highly confidential nature. Mr. William Skid- 
more too was one who stood closely to the in- 
terests of the church, and was near my father in 
all counsels. There were others, some of his 


early advisers and friends God lias spared in His 
goodness, to tiiis day, and otliers lil^e Mr. H. M. 
Alexander survived him by only a little while. 

The entrance into the new building was fol- 
lowed by an immediate increase in the work en- 
tailed upon the pastor. The visiting became 
even more difficult as it stretched from Washing- 
ton Square far up-town past the Central Park. 
To make the visitation more efficient the plan 
was adopted, of reading from the pulpit the 
streets in which the pastor expected to visit dur- 
ing the week. It was one of the discourage- 
ments of his later ministry that the pastoral 
visitation did not seem to him as effective or as 
much sought after as before the great scattering 
of the city, and the changes that have taken place 
in the mode of living of the people. These 
changes were going on very rapidly. The steady 
quiet life that was characteristic of the so many 
American homes in the earlier period exists, no 
doubt, to-day, but the showy luxurious life of a 
great wasteful cosmopolitan city is what is on 
the surface; is seen daily, and affects sooner or 
later all classes. 

It was to my father, as probably to many 
another thoughtful city minister, a source of 
anxiety that the home training no longer seemed 


to him to emphasize properly the religious ele- 
ment. This was undoubtedly an increasing anx- 
iety as the congregation grew larger and larger 
and less and less homogeneous. 

The expense of the church was, of course, a 
matter of remark and of some criticism. This 
criticism my father always considered thought- 
less and short-sighted. By nature he was inter- 
ested in and attached to institutions. He saw in 
the institutional life of the Presbyterian church a 
tremendous force. That force could only be felt, 
he realized, in a great and growing city by an 
institutional life worthy in external character of 
the life it represented. It was not needless dis- 
play, but a harmony between the external and 
the inner life which attracted him in the plans for 
a permanent building of larger proportions than 
the ordinary church life demands. The building 
represented to him the place he felt Presbyterian- 
ism should have in the forming of the city life, 
and in the moulding of future character. Into 
the new building he built his own life and heart, 
not for his own sake, but for the sake of that 
which was dearer to him than life. 

The sale of the pews took place on a Monday 
night and on Tuesday the following characteristic 
note from Mr. Bonner announced the result- 


Tuesday tiioriting, iSyj. 

Dear Dr. Hall : 

Five hundred and twenty thousand dollars for one hun- 
dred and ninety-one pews! Nothing like it was ever known. 
At least, so they all say. It was too late last night, when we 
ascertained the result, or John A., and R. B., would have been 
over at your house to congratulate you. As Napoleon said, 
" Much has been done, but much yet remains to do." 

In Dr. James W. Alexander's " Familiar Letters " he has 
several passages about the Nineteenth Street church building 
when it was new which I think will interest you. I presume 
you have his " Letters " ; but I have marked several passages 
in my volume, so that you can see them at a glance. See 
pages 178, 179, 180, 181, 182 and 183. 

We are all delighted with the result. The most sanguine of 
us did not expect over ^30,000 in premiums, and yet we had 
over ^74,000 for the privilege of taking pews at those high 
prices ! Ever yours, 

Robert Bonner. 

The building was largely paid for by the en- 
ergy of a few. In a note, intended to restrain in 
a playful way any tendency to excessive exulta- 
tion, IVlr. Bonner sent later the following calcula- 
tions with regard to the sources of the income: 

May 8th, 1877. 
My dear Dr. Hall : 

Inasmuch as you have asked me, I will answer frankly 
that I do not think you have any particular reason for " brag- 
ging " much of the work that your " people " have done in pay- 
ing off the debt. 

Let us look at the facts : Figures in this case will not lie. 
Before we entered the new church, we raised exactly S180,- 
222.09; and now we have had subscribed, including collection, 
^148,174.00, — making from all sources a total of 1328,996.09 


that has been given to the church. This, of course, has no 
reference to receipts from sales of pews ; but it is all that has 
ever been given. Now, of this entire sum I find that WilUam 
Sloan has given $50,000 ; R. L. and A. Stuart ^65,000 ; R. B. 
$131,000 — making from three parties alone, $246,000, If you 
take $246,000 from $328,996.09, you have only $82,996.09 
left ; — but even of this sum the pastor and his family contributed 
$3,427.88 ; so that all which your "people" (three parties only 
e.vcepted) have ever given under any and all circumstances, for 
the viillion-dollar church, amounts to just $79,568.21. Not 
much in my judgment, (which you ask), to " brag" of. 

The congregations at once filled the building. 
At first it was thought that after a little while the 
congregations would fall off — curiosity having 
been satisfied. This was not the case. The 
faithful pastoral work that followed up the 
preaching secured ever increasing strength to the 
permanent worshippers, and Sunday after Sun- 
day throughout the winter months great au- 
diences listened to the simple straightforward 
preaching that remained substantially the same 
in message and character from the beginning to 
the end. 

Here may be the place to speak of the outside 
work that fell to the lot of the minister of so 
large a church. It was often an amazement to 
those who had correspondence with him, how 
the pastor of the Fifth Avenue church could do 
his work without a secretary. The extent of the 


correspondence was enormous. Every activity 
in which he had an interest brought with it in- 
numerable notes, requests, demands of one sort 
or another. From the first all letters were an- 
swered by himself, and with the exception of 
three winters, when the writer cared for his cor- 
respondence in part, and two winters when he 
had outside help in arranging all his papers, he 
cared for all his writing with his own pen. To 
the last he wrote the same firm, rapid, legible 
handwriting which made his little "night 
school" on the old farm a much sought circle. 

His interest in education was intelligent and 
keen. Perhaps his experience from the days of 
that boyish experiment in some degree accounts 
for this interest. Very early he began to raise 
his voice in favor of more thorough education in 
the United States. He defended the public 
school system of New York in days when the 
undue preponderance of Irish Roman Catholics 
of an earnest but ignorant type attacked it with 
some show of success. This was the same bat- 
tle for "Godless" education as even good Prot- 
estants called it, which he had fought in Ireland. 

When the reunion of the Old and New School 
Assemblies took place he was given a representa- 
tive responsibility in the Board of Directors of 


Union Theological Seminary. He was also a 
trustee of Princeton College, and had a good deal 
to do with obtaining Dr. McCosh as president of 
that institution. In Princeton Seminary he was 
also deeply interested, and rejoiced at the warm 
support given that school of learning by Mr. and 
Mrs. Stuart. After Dr. Hodge had forgiven him 
for his heresies on the subject of eleemosynary 
education, the affinity in theology drew the two 
men together, and the warm and kindly temper 
of Dr. Hodge was always highly praised when- 
ever he spoke on the subject. 

Along another line quite outside the individual 
Church much strength and time was given from 
the first by the newcomer to American shores. 
He found the Sunday-school instruction beyond 
all description bad. It is weak and Superficial 
enough now, but then it was far worse. The 
International Sunday-school Series had his warm- 
est support and advocacy. In fact the Interna- 
tional character was largely due to his influence 
and exertions. From the beginning he sat with 
the committee on the lessons, and week after 
week wrote expositions of those lessons for the 
Sunday-school World, the organ of the Ameri- 
can Sunday-school Union. In later life he went 
off the committee and felt in some degree that 


the International Lessons had served their pur- 
pose. He was loyal- to the General Assembly's 
decision to establish a Sunday-school Board, at 
the same time he had given so much time and 
strength to the Interdenominational Sunday- 
school work that to the end this aspect had his 
most hearty sympathy. One whole summer he 
devoted to a tour on behalf of the work of 
the Sunday-school Union, and visited all the 
larger places of Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and on into 
Michigan working with Mr. Ensign, and hold- 
ing night after night great meetings the effects 
of which are yet felt in the western work. 

One of the impressions he records on that trip 
was of a lack of really highly cultured young 
women as teachers, a lack more felt then perhaps 
than now, and he took a warm interest in the work 
of the colleges for women. He had prejudices 
against coeducaton, even where he saw it was 
inevitable, but as trustee for Wellesley and as 
preacher to other such institutions he did what 
he could to show his sense of the need of high- 
class intellectual work for women. 

Much against the advice of some very near to 
him, he refused to acquiesce in the hopelessness 
with which some had come to regard the New 
York University. His friend Dr. Howard Crosby 


had without any compensation, and with much 
energy and tact conducted the affairs of the Uni- 
versity as chancellor. He at last became, my 
father thought, unnecessarily discouraged, and 
the institution was in actual danger. With the 
new church on his hands and all the other duties 
to do, it seemed quite impossible for him to as- 
sume a new responsibility. But he did. With 
the title of chancellor pro tern, he at once took 
hold, and raised enough to insure the existence 
of the institution. Then he summoned to his aid 
Dr. MacCracken, who became vice-chancellor, 
and as soon as the reins were in his hands re- 
lieved my father of responsibility along those 
lines. This was in the year 1881, and he only 
retired from the position in 1891, when the ob- 
vious success of the acting chancellor, Dr. Mac- 
Cracken made him no longer necessary to the 
institution's success. It was with profound con- 
viction that such an institution of learning was 
needed, even while recognizing the wide scope 
of Columbia University, that the work was done. 
He was firmly persuaded that under existing 
conditions no one place of learning would repre- 
sent all the aspirations for higher education found 
in New York. He considered it wholesome for 
both institutions that they should prosper along 


their own lines. In iiis judgment there was not 
only room and place for both, but a very real 
need for both. How, he used to ask, would any 
Board of Trustees succeed in representing all the 
conflicting interests and various educational ideals 
found in our heterogeneous population ? The 
wisdom of his action has been abundantly justi- 
fied by the success of the institution. 

As the education struggle in Ireland fitted him 
in some degree for facing the educational prob- 
lems of America, so also the experience in the 
missions of Connaught made him ever a warm 
supporter of home missions in his adopted 
country. After the reconstruction of the Church's 
work in connection with the reunion he became 
connected officially with the Home Board, and 
served its interests faithfully until his illness in 
1898 when he desired to lay down his office of 
President of the Board. To Assembly after 
Assembly he addressed stirring appeals for the 
cause he had ever on his heart. He enlisted a 
wide public sympathy on behalf of the West, and 
his personal knowledge of the country gave his" 
appeals great force. In his choice of colaborers 
his fault was an unbounded but, alas, not always 
well-founded faith that all men had his enthu- 
siasm and his capacity r,nd willingness to work. 


It was at times quite pathetic to see how wounded 
and hurt he was by the carelessness, blunders 
and incompetency of those whom he had trusted 
as good men with sincere professions. 

It was in good faith that he assumed the presi- 
dency of the Board of Home Missions of the re- 
united church. He felt himself to be a repre- 
sentative of both wings, and he always tried to 
insist on fairness and justice in the theological 
disputes some tried to introduce into its work- 
ings, indignantly he repelled the suggestion of 
making the Home Board representative of one 
shade of thought in the church. Many who 
heard his speech, made by courtesy at the As- 
sembly, of which he was not a member, in de- 
fense of the policy he stood for in Pittsburg in 
1895, bitterly resented it, but he carried the As- 
sembly with him, and saved the good faith and 
the credit of the Board of Home Missions. At 
that Assembly it had been proposed to practically 
make the Home Board the organ of a particular 
shade of theological opinion. The results of any 
such action would have been disastrous, yet un- 
doubtedly the proposal would have been carried, 
had not my father as the president of the Board, 
obtained the floor and in a brief speech of great 
power completely turned the tide. 


Only now and then were the really remarkable 
powers of persuasion and of debate, possessed 
by my father, seen to their best advantage. He 
both distrusted Mr. Henry Ward Beecher's the- 
ology and disliked, what he considered, Beecher's 
superficial treatment of the older thought. He 
had occasion, however, in his earlier life in New 
York to indirectly have a good deal of intercourse 
with Mr. Beecher, through Mr. Robert Bonner, 
who was a warm friend of Mr. Beecher's, and 
continued so, until he thought Mr. Beecher mis- 
used his confidence when a certain coldness came 
between the two men. Mr. Beecher often ex- 
pressed a good deal of admiration for the "young 
Irishman with the golden mouth," as he once called 
him, and got several articles for his paper from his 
pen. They also met occasionally on the platform, 
and at one such meeting Mr. Beecher took occasion 
to speak slightingly of Calvin. This gave an oc- 
casion for my father to defend in courteous, but 
vigorous language what he considered Mr. 
Beecher had too lightly defamed. My father was 
at that time relatively unknown, but many who 
were present, have since told the writer that they 
never heard a more able and impressive answer, 
and never saw a great audience, at the beginning 
hostile, so completely carried off by enthusiasm 


for that at which a few minutes before they 
were laughing and jesting under the influence of 
Mr. Beecher's wonderful powers of banter and 

Another line of work strongly attracted my 
father. He felt the need of maintaining and 
strengthening the institutional church life of 
Protestantism in the city. Both in the work of 
church extension and in city missions was he en- 
gaged faithfully and actively for many years. 
He was, perhaps, inclined to underestimate the 
necessity of a variety in the church work among 
the more floating populations, and to consider 
extravagant what other men's experience taught 
them to consider necessary expense. Yet he 
never for one moment doubted that as the city 
was so would the country be soon. Like Paul 
he felt that the city must be captured and held if 
the cause of Christ and righteousness were to 
triumph. This faith in institutional life showed 
itself in his eagerness to advance church erection 
over the land. When the General Assembly 
passed the very wise rule that a minister should 
have a place on only one board, against his judg- 
ment, and at the request of the Board of Church 
Erection my father was made a special exception, 
and he remained on both boards as long as he 


thought he could be useful. His special eager- 
ness being to provide parsonages as far as pos- 
sible in connection with the weaker churches. 
His arguments were that such a "manse" was 
generally a good investment; gave the minister 
an official residence that was there beyond criti- 
cism as "too shabby or too luxurious"; was a 
certain part of the salary that could not "get 
behindhand"; and was to the community a 
certain guarantee of permanence in the church 

The literary ambitions of my father were 
limited to immediate influence upon his own 
generation. From his earliest public life in Con- 
naught he had made use of the public press. 
Early he valued highly the weekly press, and re- 
joiced in every opportunity of addressing those 
who might in no other way come under his in- 
fluence. The enormous amount of literary work 
he accomplished in the midst of his other labors 
seems well-nigh incredible. From 1869 to about 
1887, he must have averaged weekly an amount of 
writing equal to at least three columns of the ordi- 
nary daily paper. For the New York Ledger he 
wrote regularly and successfully, and in large de- 
gree considered it a part of his best work. His 
articles had always a moral and religious aim, 


and yet they were read by thousands whose lives 
he could in no other way touch. Dr. Theodore 
D. Cuyler has often emphasized the "pen and 
the weekly press," and along the same lines my 
father steadily worked. With the exception of 
a little volume of " Papers for Home Reading " 
published by Dodd and Mead he refused to even 
attempt to give a permanent form to these wri- 
tings. He said of them as of sermons that the 
thought of writing for posterity would detract 
from their power for the present. All his liter- 
ary work sprang thus from his sense of immedi- 
ate need. Early he published a volume of 
" Family Prayers " because he found many com- 
ing over to evangelical Protestantism who knew 
not how to pray, save as they had some printed 
guidance. He followed Mr. Henry Ward 
Beecher in the Yale Lecture Course on Preaching, 
with a series of simple, but direct lectures on 
"God's Word through Preaching" (Dodd, Mead 
and Co., New York). For the American Sunday- 
school Union he once wrote a volume on " The 
Christian Home" 1883, and one of the tasks in 
which he took great delight towards the close of 
his life was a volume of daily texts with com- 
ments called "Light Upon My Path" published 
by Brentano. He had no ambition to shine either 


as a profound thinker, or as a literary genius. 
Yet all that he wrote is marked by the utmost 
refinement of feeling for style and balance of 
sentence. And all his writings breathe the clear, 
simple manly common sense, that made him the 
ready helper of so many thousands. 

He never overestimated his own powers, in- 
deed he rather underestimated them, and what- 
ever he did he did with a certain force and direct- 
ness peculiarly his own. 'He actually objected 
to publishing or printing his sermons and ad- 
dresses, and in the few cases in which this was 
done he generally appended an apology. Yet 
naturally many such sermons and addresses 
found their way into print. Some he revised 
himself, but generally all he attempted was to 
correct with his own pen any slips and obscur- 

In all his literary work, as in his preaching 
what he regarded as the " Gospel" shines out. 
He had a definite system of theology; and he at- 
tached importance to it. Most clearly was he in 
the habit of stating such positions in the lecture- 
room on Wednesday evening, or to his Ladies' 
Bible class on a week-day afternoon. Yet even 
then it was not a theology he taught so much as 
a message he delivered. His theological system 


was the eclectic evangelical Calvinism prev- 
alent in evangelical circles in the United King- 
dom, after the great religious movements of the 
Eighteenth Century. It lacked the sharp defi- 
nite structure of the theologies of the Seventeenth 
Century, but more than made up for that by the 
gentleness of tone, and the emphasis upon God 
as the believer's Father. It is a dangerous thing 
to attempt to formulate any one else's faith in a 
few words, and yet so simple and so clear were 
the outlines of the system that underlay all my 
father's preaching and teaching that justice can at 
least be partly done to it. 

He accepted simply the doctrine of the Trinity 
as a mystery, but a mystery in the sense that it was 
declared, and in its declaration was an aid to faith 
and devotion. At one time he was attracted to 
the " Kenosis " or " emptying " theory to explain 
the twofold nature of Jesus Christ, but soon 
turned definitely away from it and all explana- 
tions, preaching simply the perfect manhood, 
and absolute divinity of Jesus Christ. Here 
again he accepted the modifications in Christol- 
ogy brought about by the evangelical revival, 
and Jesus as the man suffering with us had con- 
stant place in his proclamation. Once in the 
early days of his ministry in New York he was 


asked to preach at Harvard, and knowing some- 
thing, by report, of the atmosphere there he de- 
termined to preach Jesus as attractively but as 
strongly as he courteously could. He had met 
Dr. Peabody on his trip to America, in 1867, but 
in some way did not recognize him on the plat- 
form. Dr. Peabody walked home with him and 
spoke so warmly of the sermon that my father 
assumed that his companion was in full sym- 
pathy with the trinitarian position, and said 
something about his object in thus speaking; 
then Dr. Peabody made himself known and re- 
marked that if Jesus Christ had been so presented 
in the days of the Unitarian struggle, many 
would have kept their places in evangelical 
circles. He held firmly to the theory of the 
atonement as a sacrifice to satisfy an abstract out- 
raged Justice; but held that God's love vindi- 
cated itself in providing the ransom and in ac- 
cepting the substitution; thus as he saw it, main- 
taining the moral order of the universe and 
revealing the Father's love. At the same time he 
definitely proclaimed this theory only as the one 
that satisfied his judgment best, while having 
patience with other theories so long as the sacrificial 
nature of the atonement was involved. 
His theory of inspiration remained an unshaken 


faith that whatever errors transcription might 
have introduced into the pages as we have them, 
that inerrancy in a very strict sense was to be at- 
tributed to the inspired word. In early hfe he 
had attacked with a good deal of severity the 
premilleniarian views so frequently found in 
evangelical circles. Though he never adopted 
them he became markedly more patient with 
them in later life, and clung to the faith that the 
Jews as a nation were yet to be converted, and 
that then the "fullness of the Gentiles" would 
come in. Rather remarkable, indeed, is the his- 
tory of this hope. He had it from his mother, 
who in turn had it from her cousin the Rev. 
Wm. Magowan who was minister in Mount 
Norris, where stood the parish church, and who 
baptized my father. Mr. Magowan gave a great 
deal of time and strength to work for converting 
the Jews, and when the mother was compelled 
to say good-bye to her eldest son going as a 
minister to New York, she left on record the fact 
that in her sorrow her one comfort was that her 
"boy would be preaching to many nations, and 
might evangelize many of God's Israel." 

In the refinements of theological speculation 
he had little interest. For him the theology that 
resolved the doubts of the ordinary theologically 


untrained hearer was sufficient. He knew noth- 
ing of German speculative theology, and was in- 
clined to regard it as useless if not dangerous, at 
the same time felt that a trained minister who 
had the opportunity should master it if he could. 
Very early in the theological training of the pres- 
ent writer he advised acquiring a knowledge of 
French and German, and more than once he him- 
self undertook the study of French. Yet he did 
not feel the necessity for his own thought of 
work along the directions of modern speculation, 
and scientific enquiry. He was apt to distrust 
new phraseology, and felt even some measure of 
impatience with those whom the older phrases 
no longer satisfied, and who were compelled to 
recast the forms in which faith was expressed. 
In a life of such ceaseless activity, in a theology 
in which a deep and constant Christian experi- 
ence was the real basis, the intellectual elements 
although not wanting did not play the principal 
part. There was firm faith that the system of 
evangelical teachings, that even the round of 
evangelical formulae which seemed most conso- 
nant with Scripture, would stand the most 
searching tests, but the application of those tests 
my father was content to leave to others. And 
for the most part he confined himself to the facts 


of Christian experience, and had therefore among 
those whom he deeply influenced many whose 
intellectual life and whose intellectual convictions 
differed greatly from his own. 




From joys like those, that cannot be defined, 

Part of the hills and earth, and part of God. 

From nearness and the sense of it, tlie step 

To silence absolute, is too abrupt. One must 

Send up into the hills a " Benedicite." 

Would it could be forever audible ! 

Yet why ? It will, one knows, forever fall 

Where I would have it, audibly or not. 

No answering voice is hoped, or needed here : 

It is enough to know of kindly thoughts 

That lift up and transfigure, judging one 

By what he should be, not by what he is. 

And murmured blessings, sympathies, and prayers ; 

And that perchance the sense of human love. 

For love's sake living in another's breast. 

May — as the hills though lower touch the heaven. 

Suggest the Love Divine, and all that it has given. 

* Probably written in Wales about 1873. 





INTIMATELY bound up with his work as 
preacher and teacher was the home hfe of the 
father and friend. To many the extreme earnest- 
ness of the pulpit ministrations seemed to exclude 
any humorous side, as my father never raised a 
laugh or even often caused a smile while preach- 
ing. At the same time he was gifted with a 
keen sense of humor, had many a good story, 
and in public address had a most happy way of 
putting the audience in touch with him by some 
whimsical remark. Yet even here the smile was 
merely a means to an end, and the end was sel- 
dom merely amusement. 

The present writer does not know whether 
any special pedagogic theories ever occupied the 
father's attention, but the circumstances of a 
changing field of work did somewhat disturb 

the educational plans for the family. In the 


home books were on hand on all sorts of subjects, 
and interest in a great variety of topics was cul- 
tivated. The home life included great freedom 
of both thought and action. A note in a stray 
engagement book marks the fact " to-day secured 
for Dick, Darwin's ' Descent of Man.' " As the 
boy was only then fifteen and Darwin in 1874 
was being denounced from nearly every pulpit, 
and in the columns of the weekly religious press 
as the arch-destroyer of the faith, and as my 
father himself, so far as the present writer's 
knowledge goes, never accepted Darwin's views, 
such an entry marks the spirit of freedom in which 
the family grew up. To some degree the very 
catholicity of the man sprang from the sure faith 
in him that he had common sense and truth on 
his side so evidently and so strongly that it only 
needed statement to convince any right under- 
standing. He felt that things must be argued 
out, and had little fear as to the ultimate result of 
the argument. Moreover his dealings with Roman 
Catholic methods, and his strong Protestantism 
made him, as it made Dr. Henry Cooke his 
teacher, afraid of suppressive measures. Free- 
dom of teaching was such a dire necessity in Ire- 
land that anything that seemed to threaten it he 
saw to be a calamity. Given a fair field and he 


felt fully persuaded that the system of evangel- 
ical theology must in the end win the day. 

The great big preacher, who so often towered 
on the platform above all the rest, was exceed- 
ingly gentle. He could be pained and vexed, 
but probably no one ever saw him angry. Chil- 
dren took naturally to him, and climbed up with- 
out fear on his knee to hear a repeating watch, 
kept largely for their amusement, strike the hours 
and minutes. And hence he could talk and write 
to children. Although his preaching was often 
on a devotional and spiritual level far above a 
child's comprehension, yet his language seldom 
was so, and as children we and our childish com- 
panions dreaded any other preacher taking his 
place in the pulpit. The most distinct childish 
impressions are of a very busy man, always hav- 
ing something that had to be done at a special 
time, and of one who now and then greatly re- 
joiced all the children's hearts by taking "a long 
walk" with them. Into the study the children 
were always free to go, to get a piece of paper, a 
bit of string or a word of help, and the usual 
greeting was "Well, dear, what can I do for 
you?" The study was the scene of the wildest 
disorder. Letters, clippings, magazines with the 
leaves turned down, filled every nook and corner. 


The bookcases and the very walls were decorated 
with half-sheets of paper containing engagements, 
notices, addresses, memoranda of all kinds, in 
the earlier life such was the power of memory 
possessed that each piece of paper could be turned 
to, and each letter was at hand. In later years a 
search had occasionally to be entered upon, and 
the reforming spirit once or twice took hold of 
the chaos, and order reigned — for a little while. 
"It is," he said occasionally, "my litter-ary 
workshop," and the litter none dare ruthlessly 
touch lest some important letter on the top might 
hide itself at the bottom. He read rapidly and 
miscellaneously and more than once remarked 
that "it had to be a very bad book from which 
one could not get something." The writings of 
Whately influenced him deeply, and books of 
pure theology did not attract him. Refined spec- 
ulation, or abstract critical processes were not 
congenial ground. His amusements were of the 
simplest character. He played now and then a 
game of "draughts" or "checkers," and played 
a very good game. Now and then, though 
very, very rarely, he went to a concert, and 
nothing pleased him so much as a little music 
in the home. He had no systematic knowledge 
of music, yet picked out what pleased him, and 


the opening movement of the "moonlight" 
sonata by Beethoven was what he most admired, 
although he did not realize at all the historic po- 
sition of Beethoven as a composer, and knew it as 
"the piece that Jenny plays." On the continent 
he was fond of spending an evening at a music- 
garden, and watched the program with some 
amusement over the unfamiliar names. What 
pleased him best in these performances were the 
marches from the works of Wagner, and the 
somewhat wild Hungarian music made popular 
by Brahms. 

He seldom had time for even "a walk," merely 
as a walk, but often he found a few visits had to 
be made out of the regular round, and then it 
was a pleasure to him to summon one of us to 
enjoy with him a stroll on the way. Wild 
scenery attracted him most strongly, and the 
lonely desolation of Colorado made a deep im- 
pression on him, but for pictorial art he had but 
little feeling. 

Sometimes those near him thought he sacrificed 
too much of his time and strength and self for the 
sake of heeding all sorts of outside claims upon 
him. He ministered to all who came. The 
house had almost no protection for him, from 
morning to evening a stream of callers, generally 


on their own errands, stormed the door, and when 
at home he saw them all. Scarcely an uninter- 
rupted meal was ever his portion, and only in 
the late hours of the night could he be sure of 
any seclusion. 

Of social life in the strict sense he knew almost 
nothing. A rare dinner-party, once or .twice a 
speech at a public banquet, now and then a few 
friends to " tea " was all the formal social life he 
ever had. He avoided purely social functions, 
and had no time for formal entertainment. On 
Sunday evenings the tea-table welcomed a num- 
ber of young men, some the friends of his sons, 
some "strangers," some the sons of old Irish 
friends, who had their homes in America. Yet 
he rarely was able to sit through that meal, for an 
engagement to preach somewhere would compel 
him to excuse himself and hurry away leaving 
some course untouched. As he walked the 
streets he thought out his sermons and articles, 
often making a note or two on an envelope while 
waiting for the family called upon to appear. 

He was always gentle and considerate, with a 
native grace that art could add little to, and there 
was absolutely no difference in the way he spoke 
to or treated the most exalted rank or the most 
ignorant servant girl. To all he was the same 


kindly, fatherly gentleman. He attached im- 
portance to good manners, and lamented some- 
times the "boorishness" of other wise useful 
ministers. To an Irish theological student he 
wrote urging him to make the most of some 
home life in Belfast as "an opportunity of culti- 
vating the Christian refinement a minister so 
much needs." 

He was himself also extremely active for so 
large a man, and many will ever remember a 
certain grace and dignity with which he mounted 
the pulpit. He had a love for order and rever- 
ence in church services, though disliking all elab- 
orate ritual. His taste in these matters was 
refined and simple, and nothing annoyed him so 
much in the pulpit, or on the platform as to have 
a fussy man whispering arrangements, choosing 
hymns, arranging the parts of the service. He 
felt that all such things could and should be ar- 
ranged beforehand, noted on paper, and then 
carried out without distraction and fuss. 

So busy a life needed year by year change and 
rest. Hence each summer was given over to 
"vacations." In point of fact more work was 
often accomplished in such a " vacation " than the 
average man gets done in his busy season. Ex- 
cept for a few weeks on the continent my father 


generally preached every Sunday the year round, 
and often once or twice in the week. In Ireland 
or England he was in constant demand, and 
raised debts, laid corner-stones, and preached 
special sermons by way of recreation. Yet the 
vacation was both rest and change for him. The 
burden of his pastoral visitation was laid down. 
He also gained from his travels new inspirations 
and materials for his ceaseless production of ser- 
mons and articles. All through the vacations his 
literary work went on. He would pause a day 
on his journey to complete a Sunday-school 
lesson or finish a contribution promised to some 
review or newspaper. 

The first trips to the continent as already men- 
tioned were made from Dublin, when Paris, Rome, 
Switzerland, the Rhine and the principal places 
of interest along the tourists' highroad were 
visited. Again in 1869 he visited the continent 
and kept a careful diary of the journey. At Bern 
he records the fact that he "saw the Federal 
Parliament in session. It resembles in arrange- 
ments the Senate of the United States and is 
orderly and impressive," and he was impressed 
again and again by the "views from the passes 
of rugged, bare, bold, precipitous rocks, of cliffs 
overhanging mighty depths, of the angry rivers 


chafing along through hindering rocks as they 
dashed in mad leaps down the mountainsides, and 
then of bits of utter and dreary desolation, where 
rugged nature wars with man as an intruder 
upon her solitude; and of quiet strength and 
confidence as snow-capped peaks lift themselves 
up into the blue of heaven, far-reaching even 
over cloud and storm." 

That same year he made a little trip alone to 
Oxford and Cambridge, but felt a little lonely, in 
fact so much so "as almost to destroy at times 
the pleasure of seeing places which 1 have wanted 
to see for twenty years, but for which I had 
neither time nor money until now." The first 
sermon he heard in London was by Spurgeon, 
"a magnificent and yet simple sermon." The 
continental services were less pleasing, although 
he attended them regularly. At one place the 
journal remarks with some force " thence to the 
Rue (Paris) where we saw and heard a ser- 
mon! From the intolerable affectation of the 
preacher, it was fitted to do only evil to most 
people. The honest and painful truth is that 
since we set out we did not hear one thoroughly 
good sermon or enjoy a genuine service any- 
where!" In 1872 a visit was made by the whole 
family to California. This really tremendous un- 


dertaking turned out very well, and everywhere 
meetings and preaching made his voice known 
on the western coast. In an article for the New 
York Ledger he marked some of his impres- 
sions of Yosemite valley. 

"It is after midday, and a cool wind is sing- 
ing through the pines, the sound of which it is 
impossible to distinguish from that of the falls 
in front of this hotel. 

"The valley runs about east and west, and the 
east end is called the head. It is any length you 
please under ten miles, according as you fix its 
ending or its beginning. It is about a mile 
broad in the level portion, and if one includes 
the gradual rise to the precipices formed by 
fallen debris, it is rather more from rock to rock. 
The points about it are not the great height of 
the surrounding mountains, but their nearness, 
which implies their steepness, and the impress- 
ive forms they assume. 

"Once in the valley, the sights are the follow- 
ing: Bridal Veil Fall goes with Inspiration Point; 
Vernal and Nevada Falls, at the head or east end 
of the valley, occupy a day profitably, and if you 
have come in by Inspiration Point, another day 
is due to Glacier Point. Having reached this 
elevation, let no tourist return without riding to 


the top of Sentinel Dome — the only dome he is 
likely to climb, and from which he can look all 
around without obstruction. Unicorn Mount, 
the Cloud's Rest, Mount Hoffman, Mount Clark, 
Starr King, and the Red Mountains, are before 
him on the north and east, while westward he 
looks down the valley, and sees how it merges 
in the general sea of great rolling granite billows. 
From this point also he can cultivate the ac- 
quaintance of the solemn friends to whose white 
heads he looked up from the valley. There is 
North Dome, now seen to be rounded only on 
three sides, on the fourth ending a long moun- 
tain ridge. There is Washington Column, which 
looks as if set up to secure the dome against any 
risk of toppling over into the river below. To 
the right of it is South Dome, the western half of 
it fallen out apparently, itself hard, bare and in- 
accessible. Watkins Mount, Mount Broderick, 
and other elevations, are under his eye. So is 
the entrance to the little Yosemite; so are the 
Nevada and Vernal Falls; while turning towards 
the west. Sentinel Rock and El Capitan, both 
precipitous, keep watch from opposite sides over 
the valley; and far away, till the eye fails even 
in this clear atmosphere, there lie the great waves 
of granite, with all the intervals between them 


well covered with firs and pines, which thrive in 
the soil and disintegrated granite the great ice- 
ploughs raised and left for them, when the 
glaciers covered all the slopes of the Pacific. 

" One of the prettiest sights in the valley is at 
early morning and in the evening, when light is 
clear and bright on the domes and peaks, and 
the shadows still linger below. No high degree 
of imagination or of devoutness is needed to 
suggest the 'light sown for the righteous,' when 
they live an elevated and pure life, and so enjoy 
more than common men of the ' beauty of the 

In a letter of that year from San Francisco to 
his mother he writes, "We set out to-morrow 
morning for a six days' railway journey across 
the continent, after a most pleasant month in this 
city and state. I have preached ten times these 
ten days. We shall be in New York again about 
the I2th of September, the three boys going to 
college the 13th. Our hope is, that God willing, 
our next long journey will be to you, in the 
summer of 1875." 

In the summer of 1870 a very severe attack of 
malarial fever or mild attack of typhoid nearly 
cost my father his life, and although he spent a 
good many summers in America after that it was 



always with some misgivings on the part of his 
medical advisers, and later on he went almost 
regularly over the ocean for change and rest. 
One summer however he spent, as has been 
mentioned, touring the west in the interests of 
the Sunday-school Union, and informing himself 
quietly about home mission matters. That was 
in 1874, and in 1876 he crossed on the sad oc- 
casion of losing his aged and tenderly loved 
mother, who passed away at an advanced age. 
To that mother the son had been nothing but 
comfort, and she slept in peace in the arms of 
Him whom she taught her son to love, reverence 
and proclaim. 

It was always a great source of pleasure for 
my father to stop a little in London, to walk its 
crowded streets, to climb up on the top of a 
"bus" and discourse with 'Arry who answered 
him in his best cockney, with a short pipe be- 
tween his teeth. Not even advancing years pre- 
vented the indulgence in this diversion, even 
when the climb up to the top of a swaying Lon- 
don bus seemed to include for him a measure of 

The House of Commons was always one of 
his pleasures, and there we heard together the 
debate on Irish Home Rule question when Par- 


nell kept the House together all night. The im- 
pressions of that debate are recorded in a letter 
printed in a weekly paper. 

"The night which the present writer gave to 
the House was occupied by a debate on Irish 
Home Rule, and gave a good opportunity to note 
the characteristics of the House as developed in 
recent years. To state these as they appeared, is 
the purpose of this column. 

"When 1 first made the acquaintance of the 
House, a certain freedom and ease of speech, of 
which Lord Palmerston was the type, had begun 
to displace the formal, stately, and Johnsonian 
style which Disraeli at first affected. Mr. Bright 
appeared to me to have the happy medium as 
between the two. He spoke plain English, 
largely Saxon, and with an ease that did not sac- 
rifice dignity. In those days the speaker was 
addressed throughout, and personalities were 
rare. The change in this respect is amazing. 
Take an instance. An opposition leader, leaning 
both arms on the table, and looking over it into 
the faces of 'the government,' says — 'The 
course you are now taking is a sham.' ' No, no,' 
cry members on the government side. 'The 
course you are taking is a sham,' repeats the hon- 
orable member, and the 'No, no,' comes again. 


' If honorable members will persist in their "No, 
no," they will oblige me to repeat my assertion: 
The course you are taking is a sham,' — and, true 
to his threat, he repeated it till the 'No, no,' was 
given up in despair. This incident is a specimen 
of a new style introduced into the debates, which 
— with charges of inconsistency, double-minded- 
ness, insincerity and the like — does not indicate 
advance in the direction of dignity. 

" It is known to most of our readers that mem- 
bers wear their hats, unless when speaking or 
going in or out of the house. As the morning 
came in— the writer remained till after two 
o'clock — many were asleep and their easy atti- 
tudes corresponded. Indeed, on the side galleries 
a couple of gentlemen stretched themselves, and 
— one wishes to be parliamentary — slept so au- 
dibly that had they been on the floor the speaker 
might have been expected to call out ' order.' It 
is easy to see how in such conditions the tone of 
a meeting goes down, and men readily glide into 
what would hardly seem gentlemanly. A mem- 
ber, for example, makes his speech, and the next 
speaker says on rising: 'The honorable member 
who has just sat down, entered the House eight- 
een months ago, and made the speech to which 
we have listened to-night, and many times be- 


fore. If the honorable gentleman has nothing 
else to say he should save the time of the House.' 
It is common to credit Americans with very free 
speech, but after twenty years' familiarity with 
American public meetings, the writer remembers 
nothing more free — in the sense of defective dig- 
nity — than portions of this debate." 

Often as he crossed the sea yet the voyage al- 
ways interested my father. In one place he gives 
an amusing description of the more unpleasant 
side of the trip. He at first having suffered as 
others do. 

" But, on the first day, if the weather be pro- 
pitious, the deck is well covered with people in 
their land costume. Introductions are being en- 
joyed; reminiscences are being exchanged. 'We 
crossed together on the Germania, or the Servia, 
was it?' The sea is smooth, the sky is bright. 
'What an auspicious start we are having,' say 
the passengers to one another. Pleasant groups 
are gathered together, and the ' pleasures of 
hope' are enjoyed in common. Old sea-goers 
are selecting the places for their chairs, and ma- 
king little arrangements, and when the first meal 
is served the tables are crowded. The afternoon 
changes matters a little. ' The sea is treacherous, 
you know.' Some were very busy before start- 


ing, and need a little rest. Some are very — well, 
there is no use in hiding it — uncomfortable — in 
fact, seasick. 

"There are two experiences on board which 
notably interfere with comfort. The one is fog. 
The Atlantic is an admirable ocean, particularly 
our side of it, where it touches Coney Island, 
Long Branch, Newport and Narragansett; but it 
is subject to fogs, especially as one approaches 
the slice of it that British America claims. No 
doubt if the Atlantic were put on its defense it 
could defend itself. ' If cold waves and currents 
come down from the north and mingle with my 
genial waters how can I help it ? ' But whatever 
the defense, the fact as seen by the eye, felt all 
over the body and damp clothes, and forced into 
the ears by the foghorn is real and depressing. 
And when your cautious captain, mindful of the 
collision in which the Celtic and Britannic hurt 
one another, (how long Celts and Britons have 
been in collision and with what painful conse- 
quences!) — when the captain slows down and 
even stops the ship, what gloom and suspense 
fill the thick, dull atmosphere! 

"It is a comfort that fog and storm do not 
come together. The latter is the second dis- 
turber of the peace. ' Isn't there a little more 


motion in the ship?' 'The wind, I think, is ri- 
sing a little.' ' Has it been blowing here ? There 
does not seem wind enough to make these 
waves.' 'I think I'll go below;' and he or she 
goes, rather nervously and unceremoniously — 
these, with the closing of the port-holes, and the 
placing of ' guards ' on the tables, and the very 
marked decrease of occupants of them, are 
among the symptoms of 'a little rough weather.' 
You go on deck for the fresh air, but it is cold 
and damp. You have to lean right or left as you 
walk, to watch against a salt shower-bath, to 
keep out of the way of sailors settling ropes, to 
watch your feet. You decide to 'go down.' It 
is a little difficult to manage things below. That 
sea-trunk of yours has grown restless. Combs 
and brushes catch the spirit of the occasion. At 
length you 'get lying down.' But you ' feel the 
motion,' and when you try to forget it those 
coats and garments which you adjusted so nicely 
on the sides of your room, as they obey the law 
of gravitation and swing to and fro, remind you 
of it, until you wish they were in the trunk, and 
the trunk safely anchored somewhere. Yes, 
there are little inconveniences to the average pas- 

Many and many a person has said to the pres- 


ent writer, "We heard your father preach on 
board the steamship so and so." Among the 
steerage passengers he, also, usually held a serv- 
ice, and generally discovered before the voyage 
was over just how many north of Ireland Protes- 
tants were on the ship's list. He once spent al- 
most the entire summer in Germany, and al- 
though he did not speak the language he picked 
up many vivid impressions. Some he recorded 
as follows: 

"The solidity of everything of German con- 
struction is an obvious characteristic. Things are 
made to stand. There are no ' shanties.' The 
window frames and doors are meant for genera- 
tions. The keys of houses and rooms are made 
without regard to the cost of the metal. The 
streets are paved with enormous stones, and ap- 
pear to last. So it is with the common highways 
in many places. They recall the old Roman 
roads. The wagons are enormously heavy, and 
only matched by the weight of the harness on 
the horses. One sees collars on brewers' dray- 
horses which seem a load in themselves, and on 
which are piled heavy brass decorations that re- 
call the armor of the middle ages. No wonder 
that they move with a slow gravity, as if con- 
scious of the greatness of the interests they rep- 


resent, and there is a corresponding feature in the 
minor arrangements of life. 

"Now a good deal of this is unnecessary and 
some of it provokes a smile. But the question is 
— are we not in danger of erring on the other 
side ? We are rapid, inventive, familiar with 
change, content to secure the present, willing to 
have the future take care of Itself. We aim at 
being ' smart ' rather than solid. Our German 
fellow-citizens may help us to the happy medium. " 

In 1883 a sad shadow came over my father's 
life. He greatly rejoiced in the success and 
promise of my cousin John Magowan, who had 
taken his last year at Union Theological Seminary, 
and who had most successfully begun his work 
at the Canal Street Presbyterian Church. In a 
great many ways the presence of his nephew in 
the city and in the presbytery had been a great 
source of gratification to him. Then the splendid 
promise of wide influence for good was cut short 
by sudden illness; and a life that had been filled 
with sweetness and hope ended on November 
26th, in the early dawn of the Monday morning. 
It was under the family roof that the illness had 
its fatal termination, and the dear remains rest in 
Woodlawn, and the spirit is with God who 
gave it. 


The shock to my father was very great, and he 
never trusted himself to speak much about one 
to whom he was deeply attached, and from 
whom he with good reason expected great 
things. Side by side they now await the resur- 

On November the 29th of 1891, the community 
was startled by the report of the attempted assas- 
sination of my father. He came walking rapidly 
from the church and alone up to the steps of the 
house, when an insane man, John G. Roth, to 
whom he had given some trifling help, at- 
tempted his life with a revolver. Three shots 
were fired, but although fired at a distance of 
scarcely ten feet, none took effect. The arrest 
of the man followed, and it was found that he 
was an unfortunate but dangerous lunatic. After 
going to the police court to identify his assailant 
he went into his pulpit to preach the sermon he 
had prepared, and in the evening preached in 
Classon Avenue Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn. 
On him the incident seemed to have left little im- 
pression, except of thankfulness to God for his 
escape, and certainly his wonderful coolness in 
quietly opening the door while the man was 
firing at him was noteworthy and perhaps saved 
his life. Hundreds of letters and telegrams from 


all over the country and from Europe brought him 
congratulations upon his wonderful escape. The 
unfortunate man was at once placed under care, 
his condition being that of dangerous insanity. 

The public man in America has a constant 
problem to solve in his relations to the daily 
press. On the one hand no sensible man fails to 
see the great influence for good and evil yielded 
by these daily publications; yet on the other hand 
the irresponsible character and the untrustworth- 
iness in general and in detail breeds a great dis- 
trust of that influence. This distrust was deeply 
rooted in my father. On the whole he was 
always well treated by the papers, in general the 
daily press sought to say pleasant things about 
him and his work. Yet the emphasis placed 
upon just those features of his work which gave 
him the least satisfaction always greatly annoyed 
him. Very soon after beginning work in New 
York some correspondent described him as out 
on Harlem Lane — at that time the meeting-place 
for fast trotters — behind a pair of fast horses. 
Probably the correspondent meant no harm, or 
mistook for him a distant relative of my father's 
bearing the same name, and being a medical doc- 
tor bearing also the same title. At the same time 
the report was promptly " paragraphed " all over 


the country, and even now might at any time 
turn up in the " plates " of some country paper. 
No denials, although promptly made, and no cor- 
rections in the columns of the Boston paper, al- 
though they too were at once forthcoming, made 
any difference; year after year the paragraph, 
" Dr. Hall on Harlem Lane" made its appearance 
as regularly as the roses came in spring or the 
joke about the plumber adorns the winter col- 
umns of the funny paper. 

Another report, as absurd, about the enormous 
fortune my father was supposed to possess still 
lives, and circulates even now with stately 
gravity in the columns of papers in far Russia as 
well as in Germany and France. His corre- 
spondence brought him begging letters from 
Egypt, Japan, China, India, Sweden, Germany, 
Russia, Spain, and indeed all European lands. 
Generally the begging letters enclosed a clipping 
from the paper of the country giving the fig- 
ures on which the correspondents based their 
hopes. No contradictions availed at all. Con- 
tradictions and corrections are not " para- 
graphed." As a matter of fact such were the 
demands upon the city pastor with a large family 
and of necessity living in a certain style, that al- 
though the salary was large and the house free, 


and the living very simple — no carriage or horses 
ever being maintained — no money was ever saved 
from the yearly salary. All the small fortune 
that was left the widow was earned with the 
pen or was the result of a kindly legacy left by 
a dear and devoted friend. The home life was 
simple. Of formal entertainment, as has been 
said, there was none. At lunch and dinner there 
was always room for any one whom my father 
or one of the children would ask to stay and par- 
take of the meal with the family. And of such 
hospitality there was abundance, but formal en- 
tertainment was made simply impossible by the 
busy and constantly interrupted life into which 
year by year my father drifted. Such was the 
home life. In many ways it was too public, too 
incessantly interrupted, too restlessly engaged, 
to be an ideal home life. Yet circumstances 
made it such, and that was one of the many 
sacrifices demanded by a public life upon which 
every one deemed himself as having a claim. 



Alone I walk'd the ocean strand — 
A pearly shell was in my hand ; 
I stoop'd, and wrote upon the sand 

My name — the year — the day. 
As onward from the spot I pass'd 
One lingering look behind I cast. 
A wave came rolling high and fast, 

And wash'd my lines away. 

And so, methought, 'twill shortly be 
With every mark on earth from me ; 
A wave of dark oblivion's sea 

Will sweep across the place. 
Where I have trod the sandy shore 
Of time, there will remain more, 
Of me — my name — the name I bore, 

'Twill leave no track^no trace. 

And yet, with Him who counts the sands. 
And holds the water in His hands, 
I know the lasting record stands. 

Inscribed against my name ; 
Of all this mortal part has wrought, 
Of all this thinking soul has thought, 
And from these fleeting moments caught, 

For glory or for shame. 

— The Missionary Herald, iSjS. 





MANY who knew my father well have ad- 
mired his powers of debate and his clear- 
ness in statement in controversy. He did not, 
however, either welcome argument or like de- 
bate. He could handle a sharp sword when it 
was necessary, but he loved peace, and generally 
avoided a struggle if he could do so. At the 
same time he now and then was pricked into 
sharp rejoinder and most decided action. From 
Professor Tyndal he exacted at one time an 
apology, by exposing inaccuracies in public state- 
ment in a sharp and almost scathing manner. In 
his Dublin controversy he most firmly maintained 
his ground against some of the ablest debaters of 
their generation. When in 1889 the question 
came up before the New York Presbytery on the 
initiative of the General Assembly as to the ad- 
visability of a revision of the Confession of Faith, 


all the instincts of a lifetime of service based 
upon the platform of evangelical Calvinism 
prompted to immediate defense of that which 
was assailed. He dreaded, in common with 
many other conservative friends, the revision ex- 
tending to things he considered really valuable. 
For him God's grace was bound up with the 
doctrine of man's utter helplessness. He had no 
intellectual difficulty himself with the doctrines 
of the Confession of Faith, and a most sincere 
admiration for the Shorter Catechism: he, more- 
over, deeply and heartily distrusted what Mr. 
Spurgeon called the " down-grade theology." 
In the whole revision movement he rightly saw 
the intellectual unrest, which he regarded as 
dangerous. He had been taught to regard the 
evangelical awakening in Ireland as a result of 
the reassertion of the Calvinistic system of the 
Confession of Faith, and to attach exceedingly 
great importance to the subscription which had 
been enforced in Ireland in 1840. There may be 
other opinions on such questions, but the fact 
here to be emphasized is that the course of con- 
duct pursued in the debate was throughout con- 
sistent with these positions. He was not present 
when revision was overwhelmingly decided 
upon in the meeting of November, 1889. The 


daily press announced, of course, that "Calvin- 
ism must now go," etc., and this stirred up my 
father to point out that the committee was not 
appointed to "alter the system of doctrine," and 
he in general defended both the committee and the 
presbytery. This defense of the presbytery gave 
rise to the report that my father also favored 
revision. No one, who really knew his method 
of thought and was familiar with his early train- 
ing and opinions could have made any such mis- 
take. He had no objection to explanations of 
the language of the Confession to make it con- 
form to the evangelical proclamation, as he 
understood it and preached it, but he devoutly 
believed that the Confession of Faith stood for 
that proclamation. He saw in it only what he 
thought he found in the ninth chapter of Ro- 

When then he joined the debate, and took issue 
with the committee appointed by the presbytery 
to formulate the changes desired, he not only 
was not inconsistent, but did what any one really 
knowing his views might have foreseen he would 
do. He was, however, charged with inconsist- 
ency and defended himself in the following 

"The presbytery — when I was not present, — 


discussed the question of 'revision' in a style 
so revolutionary that the papers gave out, in 
various forms, the idea that — as they put it — ' Cal- 
vinism must go.' 

"A committee was appointed to frame reso- 
lutions and indicate the extent of 'revision' de- 
sired. It began with strong protestations that the 
system of doctrine must not be touched, and 
then indicated the points to be amended. A 
time was fixed for discussion, which was not 
then entered upon. 

" I remarked that I hoped the ' world-enlighten- 
ing editors ' would give as much prominence to 
this paper as they had done to the other state- 
ments. I referred to the preservation of the 
doctrine; 1 had no reference to the details. 

"In consequence of this statement, some of 
the revisers — ignoring the facts contemplated in 
my words, misapprehended them, and charged 
me with change of attitude, when opposing the 
proposed changes. When discussion came I 
pointed out that in the dropping of chapter iii 
the Committee took exactly the ground of the 
Cumberland Presbyterians, and that if the As- 
sembly accepted this change we must apologize 
to them, and ask them to join with us. 

" Other reasons were stated, into which I need 


not go: but all the counter-arguments made, and 
since written, only deepen the conviction that too 
many of the friends of revision are not in sym- 
pathy with the ' system of doctrine,' and that — 
while an explanatory statement might avert some 
incidental evil — revision as favored, would do 
more harm than good. 

" The plea was made that our Calvinistic state- 
ments kept good young men from the ministry. 
With exclusive regard to this statement I called 
attention to the authorized statistics of the Cum- 
berland Presbyterian ministry showing that the 
want of ministers is a real evil, with them not- 
withstanding the elimination of the matter 
thought to be undesirable, from the confession." 

This allusion to the Cumberland Presbyterians 
called forth from some of them who misunder- 
stood his position, sharp criticism. This was the 
more inexcusable as he had fought their battle in 
the " Pan Presbyterian Alliance " when he urged 
that they should be included as belonging to 
historic Presbyterianism, not on the basis of de- 
tails of doctrine, but on the basis of broad 
principles and history. 

To this criticism he replied in the same state- 
ment already quoted: 

"And now the dear Cumberland brethren are 


lecturing me for an attack on them, when' the 
only thing done was to notice their condition, as 
publicly described,' as an answer to the intima- 
tion that we would get more candidates if we 
had not the pointed Calvinism. My opposition 
to the proposed removal of chapter iii — which is 
the main point — is that to alter it, as proposed, 
would require other alterations to preserve the 
consistency of the whole, and the truths assailed 
are as pointedly asserted in Scripture as in our 
Confession, and were needed then, and are 
needed now, as protests against errors more or 
less congenial to human pride and self-sufficiency. 

" Our friends sometimes fail to look at a state- 
ment in the light of the circumstances calling it 
forth, and the uses it was meant to serve. Is 
there not a like tendency in relation to statements 
of the Confession of Faith, and the inspired wri- 
tings themselves ? " 

At the meeting held early in 1890, to decide 
how far revision should go my father took very 

1 The " public description " was from the St. Louis Ob- 
server as follows : 

"Out of 2,689 churches, only 215 have service every Sab- 
bath, and 564 have no regular preaching. Out of 1,595 min- 
isters, 720 give all their time to the preaching of the Word. 
Not the one-half of either churches or preachers do anything 
in the work of missions." 


strong ground against what he considered radical 
changes in the Confession of Faith as it stood. 
Even those who disagreed entirely with him bear 
testimony to the adroitness and force of his argu- 
ment against the changes proposed. Some of 
those arguments are valid yet, as he tried to show 
that simply eliminating a chapter without other 
and more radical changes would not improve 
conditions, and would spoil the Confessional 

The movement for revision was however, so 
strong that he felt something might be said to 
correct wrong impressions. Hence he proposed 
the following resolutions, in answer to the As- 
sembly's question: 

Resolved, i. That, endorsing the committee's 
adherence to the system of doctrine contained in 
our standards, we decline to approve the pro- 
posed changes to chapter iii of the Confession of 
Faith, for these, among other reasons: that the 
removal of all the sections but the first would 
imply obligation to modify many other facts of 
our standards, and would be generally regarded 
as the first and decisive step in the way of other 
and vital changes. 

2. In view of the misinterpretations, to which, 
it is believed by some of the brethren, sections 


3 and 4 and 8 of chapter iii are liable, it be sub- 
mitted, to the Assembly if it seems to be need- 
ful, to formulate a statement as an explanatory 
or declaratory note disclaiming any views, beliefs 
or intentions in the direction of these misinterpre- 

3. That in regard to the question of infant 
salvation the General Assembly be asked — if it 
judge it right, — to formulate a similar brief state- 
ment, to the effect that our hope of the salvation 
of infants is based not — as some rest it, on their 
sinlessness, nor, as others believe, on the virtue 
of baptism, but on the grace of God through 
Jesus Christ, and the power of the Divine Spirit. 

These resolutions, like the negative motion of 
Dr. Shedd, were rejected, and when in the spring 
a solid delegation pledged to revision, from 
which a large vote excluded my father, he felt 
that his responsibility for the time had ceased. 

In the meantime the attack upon the inaugural 
address of Dr. Charles A. Briggs, professor at 
Union Seminary had been made, and the Assem- 
bly had vetoed his transfer from one chair to an- 
other. The legal aspects of the powers of the 
Assembly gave rise at once to questions. At a 
meeting in June, 1891, of the directors of the 
seminary my father took the ground that if the 


relations existing between the seminary and the 
Assembly were broken, he would have to resign. 
He came on the board, he thought, after consul- 
tation with Dr. Adams to represent the Old 
School sentiment in its new relation to the work 
of the now United Church. 

If the seminary, he argued, ceased to be the 
work of the United Church he had no place in its 
counsels. In a letter to the New York Tribune 
of June 12th, 1891, he put plainly his view of the 
case, and feeling as he did, and the action of the 
directors, taken equally conscientiously having 
broken the relation, he resigned from the Board 
of Directors. His letter was as follows: 

To the Editor of the Tribune. 

Sir : — In a report of the last meeting of the Board of Direc- 
tors of Union Theological Seminary, furnished I know not by 
whom — we had no reporters present — occurs the following 
sentence : " It was noticed, however, that the Rev. Dr. John 
Hall retired from the meeting on the plea of important engage- 
ments elsewhere before a vote was reached." 

This is the only reference to myself, and is so liable to a cer- 
tain misunderstanding that I feel bound to state the facts. 

I was at the meeting from its beginning at three o'clock un- 
til a quarter past five, when I had to leave, as I was under a 
promise to lecture to a Presbyterian church at White Plains — a 
"labor of love," at the request of its acting pastor, and my 
valued friend. 

Up to the hour of five o'clock, the point urged by several 
members (I do not give names, because I have only one object 
in mind), was that the seminary, in the arrangement made with 


the General Assembly twenty-one years ago, did what was ruled 
against in its charter, what was illegal, and what, in law, for- 
feited its rights to its property, and that, therefore, the Assembly 
had no power, and could have none, to veto an appointment of 
a professor. This plea was supported by high legal authority, 
and evidence was given that some of the directors apprehended 
all this, when the late Dr. Adams framed the overture made to 
the General Assembly, the acceptance of which placed Union 
Seminary in a new relation to the Assembly. 

To all this, as a matter of fact, I had nothing to say. Legal 
technicality is sometimes one thing, and equity quite another. 
The question before the board respected our duty to the Assem- 
bly under whose " care " we had placed the institution. (See 
minutes of Assembly for 1870, pp. 17, 148.) I felt bound to 
say that our immediate duty is to go to the Assembly and say 
in plain language : " We erred when we placed the institution 
under the care of the General Assembly, for we were precluded 
by our charter from doing so. We misled you, unintentionally 
of course, and gave you powers which we had no right to give. 
For twenty-one years we have been under your care, under a 
misapprehension, for which we, the directors, are responsible, 
and are deeply sorry." So clear did this obligation seem to 
the exponent of the defense, that he framed a sentence and of- 
fered to put it in his paper, embodying the acknowledgment. 
On this paper, though its adoption was moved and seconded, 
no vote was taken. 

I added that the natural outcome, from the facts stated, must 
be the separation of the Union Seminary from the Assembly, 
after a relation established, on our own motion, for twenty-one 
years, and which made the Assembly responsible for our work, 
before the churches ; and that then it would become a question 
to some of us whether we could, in the circumstances, remain 
members of the board. We invited the Assembly to take us 
under its care. It accepted the responsibility, and it acts un- 
der a sense of it. We now say to it, " Hands off! We had no 
right to put ourselves under your care, as you, and we, and the 
world understood it, for these one and twenty years." 


I mention these things " to correct the impression that the 
report in the Tribune would suggest, namely, that I had no 
opinion on the matter, or that I did not desire to be committed 
to any side." My conviction I stated in the plainest way that 
I could, urging the obligations on us as men, as Christian men, 
as a public Christian body, whose proceedings now interest so 
much the community. 

I have ventured to put in quotation marks the point which I 
hope will be " noted." I have rarely to explain my position, 
or defend myself, but as I am to be out of the country for some 
little time, I wish to save critics — higher or lower — trouble in 
speculating upon my motives. Yours most truly, 

J. Hall. 

New York, June 12, i8gi. 

At a meeting of the Board of Directors in No- 
vember, 1892, the resignation was accepted with 
expressions of "high appreciation of the service 
you have rendered to the seminary during the 
long period of your directorship, and their sincere 
regret that the pleasurable associations of so 
many years should for any reason be termi- 

This action, as my father often said, was quite 
independent of any action the General Assembly 
might take in the coming trial for heresy of Dr. 
Briggs. He, of course, disapproved of the in- 
augural address. From his standpoint he could 
not be of one mind with what seemed to him a 
dangerous position. For higher criticism, as he 
understood it, he had no patience, believing that 


all difficulties would ultimately yield to research. 
He was quite outspoken from the beginning of 
the controversy to the end of it on his own views 
of modern theological thought and the critical 
views of the origin of sacred scriptures. Like 
Dr. McCosh he thought Dr. Briggs wrong in 
many of his critical positions, and in public and 
private always honestly expressed those views. 

At the same time he did not hope much from 
a trial for heresy, and exerted himself to the ut- 
most to avoid that conclusion. This gave deadly 
offense to some of those most interested, to 
whom the trial for heresy was a mere means for 
warding off revision, and the maintaining the 
supremacy of a certain type of thought in the 
church. This was what made my father's po- 
sition difficult in the extreme. He agreed heartily 
in the desire to guard against any radical revision, 
he did not and could not enthusiastically share in 
the heresy trial as a means to that end. 

He had himself no doubt that Dr. Briggs was 
technically outside the confessional limits, but he 
had no desire to really exclude him, if only he 
was satisfied that in the main evangelical essentials 
he was in harmony with the mass of believers. 
Many thought that had my father gone to the 
Assembly in 1891 instead of sending his alternate 


he might have avoided the subsequent trouble. 
But in the first place his election was an entire 
surprise to him, and he had made arrangements 
he could not with honor break; and in the second 
place notice had been served upon him by his 
natural friends and allies on the conservative side 
that they would tolerate no mediation. He felt, 
and in view of past events, he undoubtedly 
rightly felt, that he could not carry the Assembly 
for the only policy he thought just and sensible, 
and that by the action of the previous year he 
had been relieved of responsibility in the matter. 
Never had my father the least doubt as to the 
main issue of the inerrancy of Holy Scripture in 
all the essentials of its history, nor did he attach 
importance to the difficulties raised by mod- 
ern criticism. In large measure, in fact, they lay 
beyond the sphere of his particular interest. Yet 
while for himself this was true, and he would 
have personally assented to any definition of in- 
spiration however rigorous on these points, he 
nevertheless came into contact with men of whose 
Christian experience and whose reverent scholar- 
ship he had no doubts whatsoever, who could not 
accept theories that seemed to him rational and 
even obvious. The attitude of Scotch scholar- 
ship had in this matter the greatest weight with 


him.' Naturally traditions led him to look rather 
to Scotland than to either America or Germany 
for the intellectual stimulus every thinking man 
needs. And in Scotland he saw theologian after 
theologian pass from the extreme position to the 
looser, as he counted it, definition of inspiration. 
Moreover the traditions of the struggle for ortho- 
doxy in Ireland excluded heresy-trials. Dr. Cooke 
had resolutely refused to commit the Synod to 
this step. "Guard," he advised, " the entrance to 
the church, but suffer all those now within to re- 

' It may be permitted here for the present writer to add a 
personal word. It was not unnaturally argued that the position 
taken by the writer affected my father's conduct in this strug- 
gle. This was not the case. From the outset there was a full 
understanding between father and son ; and although un- 
doubtedly it was painful that convictions differed, in letter after 
letter assurances were given of the utmost confidence in the 
sincerity of those convictions, and unfaithfulness to them 
would have given my father deepest pain. When the time to 
speak out seemed to the writer to have come, an opening in 
another sister church offered itself. This seemed a ready so- 
lutipn of the difficulty, but my father resolutely refused to have 
that step taken, and urged retention of my connection with the 
Presbyterian Church, only enjoining gentleness and moderation 
in the maintaining of my convictions. The slightest hint from 
my father that he doubted my rights within the lines of the 
Presbyterial communion, or the least indication that he re- 
garded it as a hindrance to his own free action would at any 
stage of the controversy been sufficient to have led me quietly 
to withdraw. All such steps my father steadily and continu- 
ously opposed. 


main in peace." The extreme " Arian " party, as 
it was called withdrew to a remonstrant Synod, 
but the clerk of the Assembly, after publicly 
avowing his Unitarian position, was not even dis- 
turbed in his holding the clerkship. 

Moreover the methods of the extreme party 
were distasteful to him. He felt somewhat as 
Dr. McCosh is said to have done, that Dr. Briggs 
should be answered and refuted, but that a 
heresy-trial was no answer. There was no at- 
tempt to "shirk" issues, as one of the extreme 
party charged him with doing. He separated 
himself at once from Union Seminary when he 
considered his own position compromised, he 
vigorously opposed revision of the standards, and 
his rejected resolution would have been agreeable 
to Dr. Shedd or any of the really responsible con- 
servatives, he attempted to avoid a heresy-trial 
and stood manfully for peace, and although 
never wavering in his own personal convictions, 
he was willing to put up with "weaker breth- 
ren" if only Christ was preached. The so-called 
"liberal" men knew and respected his position, 
the taunts and insults came from a few whose 
intemperate words and actions could not shake 
my father's faith in the conservative position, but 
in whose methods he could have little part and 


in whose aims he did not always have con- 

In this spirit he also refused to have the Home 
Board made a partisan agency by which the 
church could be " purged," as one correspondent 
urged upon him, from those who refused the 
shibboleths of the extreme faction. Instinctively 
he felt that Protestantism rested upon the har- 
mony of reason and faith, and his confidence was 
firm that the matter had only to be discussed 
rightly, and that faith would gain the victory. 
As one, a member of his session, and himself an 
outspoken partisan wrote to him: "I have no- 
ticed the impertinent reference to your private 
affairs in the Tribune and your answer to it. I 
wish to say that your course in keeping free 
from the strife and contentions, clamors and evil 
speakings on both sides in the Briggs contro- 
versy, I consider eminently wise and proper. 
You are not called upon to be a partisan on 
either side if you prefer peace and brotherly 
kindness; and I am sure your consistent course 
will approve itself to all your people, and to all 
considerate men." 

He, moreover never avoided any opportunity 
of expressing himself, publicly and privately, as 
his correspondence and printed documents show. 


on the issues of the case. In the heat and strife 
however his counsels of patience and moderation 
were unheeded, perhaps a calmer review than is 
now possible of the whole history will establish 
the wisdom of his course. To have, however, 
acted otherwise than he did would have been a 
complete departure from the traditions of a life- 
time, and a change in the entire habit of his mind 
and heart. It was therefore to him that younger 
men all over the country wrote asking advice 
after the condemnation of Dr. Briggs at Wash- 
ington as to what they should do under the cir- 
cumstances, and to them the answer was uni- 
formly "stay where God has put you, if you can 
honestly preach Christ as the Saviour of the 
world, and work in harmony with your brethren 
in the Lord." He felt deeply sorry that so many 
had accepted, what seemed to him, a fallacious 
and imperfect conception of inspiration, and that 
so wide-spread a falling off from traditional 
opinion was manifest; he thought greater care 
should be exercised by presbyteries in the admit- 
ting of men to the ministry; but he saw no 
remedy in heresy-trials, and did confidantly be- 
lieve that truth would assert herself in her own 
His course was watched and approved by 


thoughtful friends both conservative and ad- 
vanced on the other side of the Atlantic, and he 
felt after the first heats of the controversy were 
over that calm discussion and "more scholar- 
ship" would relieve the situation. What he re- 
garded as essential he once formulated in a paper 
on church unity. He wrote: 

"If 1 were asked, what is most promotive of 
true church unity, I could make but one reply. 
Let there be the preaching and teaching of the 
inspired word. Let the Saviour be held up as 
prophet, priest and king, through whom alone 
access is had to the Father; as He is the Chief 
Shepherd and Bishop of souls let His authority 
be supreme in the Church. Let an educated and 
earnest body of men use the word, sacraments 
and prayer, as indicated in the New Testament, 
and in reliance — not on human attractions, social 
influences, or the energy of human flesh, but on 
the power of the Holy Spirit, and believers 
realizing the one Lord, the one faith, and the one 
baptism, and so the one relation, will be seen as 
one by their Father in heaven, and so recognized 
by their fellow-men." 



Friends I love may die or leave me, 
Friends I trust may treacherous prove, 

But Thou never wilt deceive me, 
O my Saviour! in Thy love. 

Change can ne'er this union sever, 

Death its links may never part, 
Yesterday, to-day, forever 

Thou the same Redeemer art. 

On Thy cross love made Thee bearer 

Of transgressions not Thine own, 
And that love still makes Thee sharer 

In our sorrows on the throne. 

In the days of worldly gladness, 

Cold and proud our hearts may be ; 
But to whom, in fear and sadness, 

Can we go but unto Thee ? 

From that depth of gloom and sorrow. 
Where Thy love to man was shown. 

Every bleeding heart may borrow 
Hope and strength to bear its own. 

— The JSIissionary Herald, 18^8. 





NO man ever sought recognition less tlian the 
subject of this biography. He was by na- 
ture both reserved and shy. The calm self-pos- 
session that marked him in the pulpit and on the 
platform sprang from his habit of constant self- 
control and from his profound sense that he had 
a message which was not simply his own. 

It was hard to persuade him in his student days 
that he was the right one to go as representing 
his class to Connaught. A proud shyness marked 
him as a student, and is noticed both in his cor- 
respondence and his diary of those days. The 
prominence he attained to in Ireland was thrust 
upon him. He took the first outside honor that 
was offered him — the Queen's commissionership 
of education in Ireland — because it gave him a 
field of congenial usefulness, and because it rep- 
resented a principle, and not for the honor it 


brought with it. While highly self-respecting 
and free from artificial humility, he genuinely 
shrank from publicity and all mere notoriety. 

His old and warmly attached friend — Mr. 
George H. Stuart — always a little amused and 
amazed him by an utter freedom in public, and 
by the way he enjoyed crowds, enthusiasm, noise 
and demonstration. These were not congenial 
to my father. He loved order, and his tastes 
were sober and quiet. His reserve made his 
intimate friendships very few, yet he thoroughly 
enjoyed the fellowship of his brethren. He was 
warmly interested in the rather distinguished 
group of men with whom he worked in Dublin, 
and who one by one made marks in life for them- 
selves in various directions. He kept alive the 
memories of the little circle of student days, 
already mentioned. When he came to New 
York he was at once welcomed into a well- 
known ministerial circle, whose associations he 
treasured until his death. Another gathering al- 
ways deeply interested him, namely the minis- 
terial meeting on Mondays. He never missed it 
unless hindered by important duties or some cir- 
cumstance he could not control. 

One of the keen pleasures of his life was the 
recurring conventions of the Scotch-Irish in 


America. He looked forward with what was for 
him eager pleasure to these gatherings. He gen- 
erally shared this pleasure with JVIr. Robert Bon- 
ner who took an active interest in the life of the 
society. It was my father's lot to often preach 
before the convention, and nowhere did he ever 
feel more completely in touch with his audience 
than when taking part in the "old-time meeting" 
which formed a part of the convention's exer- 
cises. The first degree was received by my 
father while still in Ireland from the University 
of Washington and Jefferson, 1865, and after he 
came to America various degrees were given 
him. In 1886, Columbia University bestowed on 
him the degree of LL. D., but he especially ac- 
cepted with satisfaction the degree of LL. D. 
from Trinity College, Dublin, which was given 
in 1891, but received personally by him in Dublin 
in 1893. Trinity College being wholly under the 
control of the Episcopal church has not often 
thus honored Irish Presbyterians. A notable ex- 
ception was the case of Dr. Henry Cooke, who 
however defended the establishment, whereas 
my father was known to be an open antagonist 
of that policy. The degree was conferred in 
"recognition of your distinguished merits," and 
was understood to be a special recognition not 


only of the successful career in New York, but 
of past services in connection with Irish affairs. 
The conferring of this degree not only greatly 
gratified my father, but he spent a most delight- 
ful few days in Dublin among his old co-work- 
ers, on the Board of Education, Presbyterian, 
Episcopalian and Roman Catholic. 

It was part of the joy of his service in New 
York that he could be of use to many branches 
of the Church of Christ. Probably no voice has 
been so much heard in so many different denom- 
inations as that of my father. On Sabbath even- 
ings he generally preached or spoke somewhere 
out of his own church. He delighted to be of 
use to churches and brethren less favored by cir- 
cumstances than he and his charge were. 

In the year 1875 he delivered the Yale lectures, 
already mentioned, and from that on almost every 
year he spoke to the various classes of the Yale 
Theological Seminary. Close and warm friend- 
ships sprang up in the Congregational Church 
as a result of these visits and he took a deep in- 
terest in many of the men whom he came to 
know in the theological classes he thus ad- 

The year 1896 is marked in his diary as a year 
of special blessing and peace. The health of his 


wife and a son about whom he had had anxiety 
had so much improved that he had practically no 
concern in this regard. The work of the church 
seemed to be going on with every evidence of 
prosperity and peace. In the summer of that 
year he went as a delegate to the Evangelical 
Alliance, which met in London from June 30th 
to July 4th. In the Alliance he had always taken 
a deep interest. It seemed to him to be the only 
practical Christian unity possible, at present, ob- 
tainable. He rejoiced always in its activity and 
more than once stood up to defend it against 
those who saw in it nothing but a sentiment. 
He felt that denomination differences had a 
meaning, but that there was a spirit deeper and 
more unifying than the external bond. He once 

" Like many other words and phrases in common 
use, 'Church unity' needs to be defined. In 
the minds of some it means: ' Let the denomina- 
tions or sects come and join us, just as we are; 
and so let us have unity.' With others it 
means: 'Let us work together, not against one 
another but against ignorance, worldliness and 
vice.' This is the idea represented in the 
Evangelical Alliance, and the idea which has my 
sympathy. As an illustration of its working I 


can exchange pulpits with Baptist, Congre- 
gational, Methodist, and other brethren, and 
show that while we have our several forms of 
machinery and distinctive features in our Church- 
life, yet we have the same message in substance to 
deliver to the people. It is desirable that this 
form of unity should be realized more and more, 
so that economy might be practiced, and if a 
modest village has a couple of congregations 
equal to the wants of the place other two might 
not press in and at the cost of Missionary Boards 
push competitive effort." 

That autumn's work showed an extraordinary 
amount of activity. Before Christmas the visit- 
ing was well in hand, and the year closed 
in the journal with a characteristic prayer of 
thanksgiving. The peace and quiet activity of 
the year was however, not carried on into the 
follovk'ing one 1897. The first shadow was the 
sudden and severe illness of the present writer, 
and at a certain stage hope of recovery was sur- 
rendered and my father was called to Chicago, 
where my charge then was. For some days of 
anxiety and suspense he remained haunting the 
bedroom for some gleam of hope. He preached 
on Sunday morning in the vacant pulpit, and 
came home to find marks of improvement; but 


the rejoicing was cut short by the dreadful news 
of the death in far-off Santa Barbara of the third 
son Richard, whose career as a surgeon had been 
brilliant, but who had been banished by ill-health 
to California. 

In suspense still about me, and burdened by the 
dreadfully unexpected news from California, he 
hurried home to be of comfort to the sorrowing 
mother. And in the same spring a dearly loved 
grandchild was stricken down, and hope and 
hopelessness, and long periods of suspense were 
brought to sad termination; and deeply did my 
father feel the sorrow of his dearly loved 

In the preoccupation caused by these sorrows 
upon sorrows there was brought to his attention 
the matter of an assistantship. This question had 
often come up ; that my father was overworked no 
one doubted; but that any one could do much to 
help him was seriously questioned. He had him- 
self a great dislike of repeating the experiment of 
Dublin, but the chief difficulty was that the mo- 
ment an assistantship was planned, wires were 
pulled and arrangements made to force upon the 
church men whom he considered unwise choices. 
So vigorous were these efforts that again and 
again the only way out of the difficulty seemed 


to be the postponing of any choice. After 
calmly viewing the evidence it is hard to resist 
the impression that some of the bitterness that 
clouded these last days was the direct result of 
these disappointed plans. The requirements of 
the place of assistant or co-pastor to one who had 
for thirty years borne such a burden alone were 
indeed many. It was needful that in theological 
opinion such an one should share the main in- 
tellectual outlines of the pulpit instruction. My 
father had many feelings, which he himself 
would not have called more than prejudices, but 
which he cherished, and to have put them aside 
would have lost him much discomfort. He had 
no "principle," for instance, in the matter of 
Church music, but he was deeply prejudiced 
against the ordinary Church choir. He had 
suffered from it once, and disliked it. What 
other Churches did was a matter of almost in- 
difference to him; he sometimes even enjoyed a 
hearty chorus or a fine rendering of some simple 
church music in churches where he was a visitor, 
but for himself he disliked anything save con- 
gregational singing where he was responsible for 
the service. 

To the present writer he often said that the 
embarrassments of an assistantship lay much 


along this line of putting a yoke upon a younger 
man, such as he had himself felt in his earlier 
days to be irksome, and which he yet felt would 
be necessary if the arrangement should really suc- 
ceed. Rightly or wrongly he now felt that some 
who were not wholly loyal and friendly to him 
were pushing this matter with selfish purpose in 

In about the year 1889 there had come a young 
and evidently highly gifted converted Jew, Her- 
mann Warszawiak by name to New York with 
strong letters of commendation, and with personal 
letters to my father. After some signs of power 
in preaching to his countrymen he was employed 
by the New York City Mission, and carried on 
his work with seeming success. Letters then 
came to New York of a confidential nature to my 
father warning him that the young Jew would be 
attacked, and urging him to protect the mission- 
ary against what was said to be a conspiracy. 
Shortly after this the connection between Mr. 
j-jermann Warszawiak and the New York City 
Mission was severed, and a committee under- 
took to manage the work he had begun. This 
arrangement did not succeed, in part because the 
committee did not have time to attend to the 
matter, in part because perhaps Mr. Warszawiak 


was not easily managed. The work had my 
father's full endorsement. He trusted Mr. War- 
szawiak fully, although even then strongly ur- 
ging him to carefulness in money matters. 
Attacks began now to be made upon the young 
missionary's character. These were of a vague 
and general nature. At once my father investi- 
gated those that were sufficiently definite to be 
investigated, and in one case at least the charge 
was at once proved to be a gross and clumsy 
slander. Mr. Warszawiak was responsible to 
the session of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian 
Church, and desired to be taken under the care 
of presbytery. Here objection was made and 
one accuser produced documents which he alleged 
contained conclusive evidence of bad character. 
This allegation is now known to have been a 
misstatement, for all the charges brought against 
Mr. Warszawiak were subsequent to that meet- 
ing, and no evidence can yet be called " conclu- 
sive " of anything. ' Having been warned of 
such attacks it was no wonder that my father 
constantly demanded evidence, and having in at 
least three several instances proved conclusively 

'The following is the text of the judicial finding at the last 
Ecclesiastical trial. To the Moderator and Session of the Fifth 
Avenue Presbyterian Church, 


that charges made were base slanders, it was the 
least that he could do to suspend judgment. 

Sitting as a Judicial Court of Jesus Christ, 
In the Matter of the charges preferred 

— against — 

Hermann Warszavviak, 

a member of the Church. 

The undersigned, the committee appointed in the above 
matter to report what course of proceedings should be taken 
therein, beg leave to report, that they have considered the pro- 
ceedings heretofore had in this matter before this session, The 
Presbytery of New York, the Synod of New York and the Gen- 
eral Assembly, and have examined the charges and specifica- 
tions containing the names of proposed witnesses in their sup- 
port ; and also the two petitions of the accused dated respect- 
ively June 28th, 189S, and October 25th, 1899, asking that a 
new trial be issued. 

The charges are that the accused on certain dates during the 
months of January, February and March, 1897, ^'''°" "^"'^ '°5' 
money by gambling in a public gambling-house and pool-room. 
All of the witnesses named in the specifications in support of 
the charges (except some who were called on the former trial 
only to prove formal matters which did not touch the charges of 
gambling) are professional detectives ; none of them are mem- 
bers of the Church (except possibly one) and some of them are 
not even adherents to any form of Christian faith. 

The evidence of such witnesses alone, even supposing that 
they should swear to the truth of the charges, would not be con- 
sidered by many fair-minded Christian members of our Church 
as conclusive of the guilt of a fellow-member, when he denied 
on oath the truth of their evidence, as was the case in the 
former trial. 

There is no suggestion or rumor that the accused has since 


At last the trial took place. Of that so-called 
trial the less that is said the better. Whatever 

the dates mentioned in the charges, now nearly three years old, 
been guilty of any of the acts charged against him, and he has 
ever since continued to and still does teach the Gospel of our 
Lord in an acceptable and public manner to members of his 

The former trial, and subsequent proceedings before the 
Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly, created very great 
excitement, and caused very bitter and unchristian feeling, not 
only among members of our own congregation but among the 
members of the whole Church, and was the occasion of much 
scandal to the Church before the general public. 

Your committee are consequently of the opinion that further 
prosecution of said charges could not result in any good or to 
the purity of the Church, but on the contrary, would disturb the 
peace and unity of our own congregation and of the church; 
and would do great injury to the cause of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, in our midst, and they therefore recommend that this 
court do not proceed with a retrial of the accused upon said 
charges, and that this court pass the following preambles and 
resolution, namely : 

Whereas it is now nearly three years since the dates of the 
alleged immoral conduct charged against Hermann Warsza- 
wiak, namely, gambling at a certain public gambling-house or 
pool-room ; 

And Whereas, The said Hermann Warszawiak has since 
that date been debarred from the Communion of this Church ; 

And Whereas, He has during that time been leading a 
moral life and has not ceased to publicly teach the blessed gos- 
pel of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the people of his own kindred ; 

And Whereas, The witnesses named in the specifications to 
support the charges (except some who were called on the 
former trial only to prove formal matters not touching the 
charges of gambling), are professional detectives, are not mem- 


Mr. Warszawiak may have been — and some are 
still inclined to suspend judgment on this point — 
the trial was no model of what a calm Christian 
court should be under such circumstances. In 
the finding my father was in a minority. His 
verdict however, of "not proven" was sustained 
by the New York Synod in 1898 after my father 
had passed from the field of conflict. That action 
was, " It appears that injustice may have been 
done Warszawiak in the original trial before the 
session in not appointing him any counsel, in not 

bers of the Church (except possibly one) and some of them are 
not even adherents of any Christian faith, and therefore are not 
such that unqualified credence should be given them ; 

And Whereas, The former trial and subsequent proceedings 
therein have been a source of continual irritation and a hin- 
drance to kindly brotherly Christian feeling in the Church, and 
a detriment to the advancement of Christ's Kingdom in our 
midst ; 

Therefore^ Resolved, That it is the judgment of this court that 
a retrial of Hermann Warszawiak upon the charges heretofore 
preferred against him would not result in any good or to the 
purity of the Church, but on the contrary, would disturb the 
peace and unity of our congregation and of the church ; 

Therefore, Resolved, That the said charges be, and they hereby 
are, dismissed, and that he, Hermann Warszawiak, be and 
hereby is restored to the communion of this church as a mem- 
ber in good and regular standing. 

All of which is respectfully submitted. 

Dated, this 3d day of November, 1899. 

This action became the action of the Court, though not 


granting him access to the records, in totally 
striking out his testimony for contumacy, and in 
allowing undue cross-examination into financial 
matters not included in the original charges. " The 
appeal was therefore sustained, and the case was 
ordered to be retried.' Rightly or wrongly my 

• The full text of the Synod's decision is as follows :— 

The appeal of Hermann Warszawiak from the judgment of 
the Presbytery of New York, sustaining the finding and judg. 
ment of the session of the Fifth Avenue Church of the City of 
New York, having been found in order by the Synod of New 
York, on the igth day of October, 1898, and a Judicial Com- 
mission having been appointed to hear and determine the issues 
raised by such appeal ; and such commission of Synod having 
met on the 19th, 20th and 21st days of October, 1898, and 
proceeding in due form according to the Book of Discipline, 
§ 99 : the judgment, the notice of appeal, the appeal and the 
specifications of the errors alleged having been read, together 
with so much of the records of the case as was admitted by 
mutual consent of the parties, the appellant and respondent 
having been heard at length, the members of the judicatory ap- 
pealed from having been heard, and also the members of the 
commission; the vote having been taken on each specification 
of error alleged. 

" The said Judicial Commission, after voting upon each ex- 
ception specified in the notice of appeal, does determine and 
adjudge that the Presbytery of New York did err in hearing 
and adjudging the appeal of Hermann Warszawiak from the 
session of the Fifth Avenue Church of the City of New York. 

" It finds the lower court in error in irregularities in the pro- 
ceedings : I spec. 7 and 12, in refusal to entertain and consider 
complaints in the form of objections and exceptions. II spec. 
4, in refusal of reasonable indulgence. Ill spec. 4, 5, 6 and 
12, in hastening to a decision. V spec. 3 and 5, and therefore it 


father was again convinced tliat the charges of 
gambling were trumped up, and certainly no 
court of civil justice would admit the evidence 
that was produced. He was staggered in his faith 
in Mr. Warszawiak for a little time by an alleged 
confession of Mr. Warszawiak's to a prominent 
citizen of New York. But my father was a good 
listener, and was of a curiously skeptical mind in 
every-day affairs. He had two interviews with 
the gentleman and convinced himself that the 
statements made were, to say the least, inaccu- 
rate. He marked two such glaring inaccuracies 
in the account given him that he lost faith in his 

sustains the appeal, and reverses the judgment of the Presby- 
tery of New York. 

" Further, it seems to the commission that injustice may have 
been done Mr .Warszawiak, in the original trial before the session, 
in not appointing him any counsel, in not granting him access to 
the records, in totally striking out his testimony for contumacy, 
and in allowing undue cross-examination into financial matters 
not included in the original charges. 

" It is therefore the order of this Synod that the appeal be 
sustained, and that the Presbytery of New York be instructed 
to remand this case to the session of the Fifth Avenue Church 
with instructions to retry Hermann Warszawiak upon amended 
charges, including the misuse of moneys contributed for mis- 
sionary purposes." 

On appeal the Assembly of 1899 sustained the Synod save 
only striking out the instructions " to retry on amended 
charges " on the ground that original jurisdiction pertained only 
to the session. 


informant's powers of objective observation. At 
the same time lie felt that he could not endorse 
the work to others until the matter was cleared 
up. This was previous to the trial before the 
session. At that trial he was still farther 
convinced that whatever might be the truth, 
no conclusive proof of guilt was in the 
possession of those prosecuting Mr. War- 

The matter was still farther complicated bj'the 
somewhat intemperate defense of Mr. Warsza- 
wiak by a well-known evangelist from England, 
who did not confine himself to the facts of the 
case but impugned in an unwise manner 'the 
motives and lives of those who, no doubt, sin- 
cerely distrusted Mr. Warszawiak. For that at- 
tack my father felt sincerely sorry, but he had no 
reason for interfering, as he was neither consuhed 
by nor even well-known to the author of that 

My father, it is true, had lost confidence in the 
calm impartiality of some of the chief assailants; 
and the outrageous misstatements of one of them 
had completely undermined my father's previous 
reliance upon his fairness and good judgment; 
at the same time his one steady demand was evi- 
dence and facts. And these were never forth- 


coming. The last authentic judgment' of my. 
father was written from Buxton, England, in June, 
1898, when in a letter to the Tribune of New 
York, he said: — 

To the Editor of the Tribune. 

Sir: — ^May I ask the insertion of this brief statement 
on a matter concerning whiclr more letters have come to me 
than I have been able to answer. 

Mr. Warszawiak came to Nevi' York bringing from Europe 
the strongest letters of commendation, including one of intro- 
duction to myself from a prominent minister in Edinburgh. 

He was taken, after a little, into connection with the New 
York City Mission, and for a considerable time had strong in- 
dorsement from its officers. After separating from it, and also 
from a committee that took up his work, he went on with it in- 
dependently and with apparent usefulness. 

■The stages of the case were as follows: About 1889 War- 
szawiak came to New York. Employed by New York City 
Missions. United with Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 
1890. Honorably discharged by City Missions in 1894-5. 
Carried on his work independently. Applied for admission to 
New York Presbytery, 1897. Accused and convicted before 
Session of Church, 1897. Appealed to presbytery and trial be- 
fore a commission, 1897. Appealed to Synod October, 1898. 
Appeal sustained, but new charges ordered. Appealed to As- 
sembly 1899 against that order. Sustained. Synod refused to 
obey Assembly and asked for instruction. Warszawiak asked 
for new trial before Church Session. Trial had before Session 
and case dismissed 1899. Appeal and complaint lodged against 
action of Session in dismissing. Presbytery found appeal and 
complaint " not in order." General Assembly at St. Louis dis- 
missed whole matter. Mr. Warszawiak therefore to-day in good 
standing in Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. 


The cliarge against him, which was referred to the Presby- 
tery of the Fifth Avenue Church Session, namely, gambling, 
was held by a minority of the session to be " not proven." My 
opinion was with the minority. The matter of his use of 
money, though incidentally brought to the notice of the session, 
had not been referred to it. 

Mr. Warszawiak went to Europe, it was understood, to ar- 
range money matters. Since that I have had no communica- 
tion from him, and accordingly I am not in a condition to con- 
tinue indorsement of his plans for pecuniary aid. It appears to 
be my duty, therefore, to say that — whatever the state of the 
case may be, and whatever the issue of his appeal to the church 
courts — it is impossible for me to answer intelligently the ques- 
tion as to his financial management. 

John Hall. 

Buxton, England, June ly, i8gS. 

To many my father seemed simply obstinate, 
not knowing how many obscure motives on the 
part of those prosecuting the case were quite 
obvious to him. The young Jew was really very 
helpless and friendless. My father had moreover 
a keen sense of justice. He felt that in accord- 
ance with Anglo-Saxon tradition he must stand 
by an accused man and treat him as innocent 
until he should be proved guilty. All the old- 
fashioned chivalry of his nature was appealed to, 
and he demanded that whether Mr. Warszawiak 
were guilty or not, he at least should have a fair 
trial and his rightful opportunity to establish his 
innocence if possible. 


This unhappy incident produced many alien- 
ations. Moreover the conditions in the church 
had much changed. Nearly all the old advisers 
of my father, who had welcomed him to the 
country had passed away. The restlessness of 
American life knows little of sentiment, and ties 
are easily broken. There had been discontent 
on the part of some of those with whom my 
father was working with his policy in many di- 
rections. Some disliked his course in the the- 
ological controversy of the past years; nothing 
but a bitter partisanship, of which he was inca- 
pable, would have satisfied them. 

Others desired changes that could not easily be 
made while his "prejudices" existed against 
what they wished. Some of the younger gener- 
ation did not, perhaps, value his careful pastoral 
work as highly as an older generation had done. 
When he took the part of Warszawiak with the 
minority of four, it became evident that to some 
extent the majority of the session was on trial. 
As early as July, 1897, a rather harsh coarse letter 
from a member of the session informed my 
father of a private meeting called to consider dis- 
placing him. This was a fearful shock to a man 
bowed with sorrow, and was perhaps all the 
more disastrous in its effects that it was borne 


alone and in silence. On the return in the 
autumn of that year another such private meet- 
ing seems to have been held, and my father was 
given to understand that it acted in the sense of 
the greater part of the congregation. He ac- 
quiesced. A special committee of session was 
appointed to consider the whole matter, and he 
was made a member of it. Of course that mem- 
bership was purely pro forma, he simply assented 
to whatever was done as the minute introduced 
and carried shows. That minute was as fol- 

Whereas our pastor. Rev. John Hall, D. D., 
LL. D., after thirty years of arduous labors 
amongst us feels constrained to seek relief from 
the burdens and responsibilities of the pastorate, 
and has advised us of his intention to apply to 
presbytery to dissolve the pastoral relations exist- 
ing between him and this church, therefore, 

Resolved, That this session desires to place 
on record its very deep sense of Dr. Hall's untir- 
ing and unselfish labors, and the great blessings 
which have attended his ministry. Coming to 
this country and becoming our pastor in 1867, he 
has gone in and out amongst us for thirty years, 
preaching the Word, visiting our sick, burying 
our dead, and bringing comfort and help to souls 


cast down and sorrowful. The prosperity and 
usefulness of our church for so many years bear 
witness to the blessings which have attended his 
labors. Nor have these labors been confined to 
this church alone: Church Extension in this 
City, Home and Foreign Missions, Ministerial 
Education, Support and Relief, all Church work 
has been benefited by his services. Indeed, no 
form of religious or philanthropic labor can be 
said to be alien to him. His influence for good 
has been felt and recognized throughout the 
whole Christian world, not merely in his own 
but in every other evangelical denomination. 

Resolved, That a meeting of the church and 
congregation be called to take action on the 
pastor's resignation, on Wednesday evening, 
January 19, 1898, at 8 o'clock in the lecture room, 
and that due notice of the same be given from the 
pulpit at the morning service on the two preced- 
ing Sabbaths, as required by the laws of this State. 

Resolved, That we will recommend to the 
church and congregation at the meeting so to be 
called, that they accede to the pastor's request, 
and for that purpose that they appoint commis- 
sioners to presbytery to unite with him in seeking 
a dissolution of the pastoral relation. 

And further that we will recommend them to 


appoint Dr. Hall "Pastor Emeritus," and vote 
him an appropriate retiring allowance. 

And that we will also recommend that they 
appoint a committee to cooperate with a similar 
committee, to be appointed by the session, to 
take steps Iool<.ing to the choosing of a suit- 
able successor to the pastorate. 

Resolved, That we unite with our pastor in 
requesting the Rev. Dr. Howard Duffield of the 
Presbytery of New York to act as moderator at 
the said meeting of the church and congregation. 

This minute was adopted at a special meeting 
of the session held on the 6th of January, and 
my father read the following letter: 

yi2 Fifth Avenue, 
'New York, 6th January, iS^8. 
Dear Brethren of the Session: 

Having been privileged to preach the Gospel for more 
than forty-eight years, and having been pastor of the Fifth 
Avenue congregation for thirty years, I have decided — after 
lengthened and prayerful consideration of the matter — to re- 
sign the pastorate of the church, and so to give opportunity to 
the congregation to choose a successor of requisite energy and 
vigor for the work ; and I pray God to guide the congregation 
— in which I have felt the deepest interest, and for the spiritual 
good of whose members I have labored — in the selection. 

Whatever appears to the session to be best in the circumstances 
— whether to give up pastoral work and preaching at once, or 
to go on until a successor is found — I am ready to undertake. 
I am, Dear Brethren, 

Fraternally yours, 
J. Hall. 


The session adjourned, and met again on thie 
I7tii of January, 1898, when the resolutions ap- 
pended were passed: 

Resolved, That the session recommend to the 
congregation that in accordance with the pastor's 
wish and the report of our committee, the fol- 
lowing resolutions be passed: 

Resolved, That this church unites with the 
Reverend Dr. John Hail in his application to 
presbytery for the dissolution of the pastoral re- 
lations, and appoint commissioners to represent 
this church in presbytery, and instruct them to 
support our pastor's application, to take effect on 
the 15th day of June, 1898, and not earlier. 

Resolved, That the Reverend Dr. John Hall be 
appointed pastor emeritus of this church from 
and after the 15th day of June, 1898, and that an 
annual salary of Five thousand ($5,000) dollars 
be paid to him during the continuance of such 

Resolved, That commissioners above named 
be authorized with the trustees of this church to 
execute an agreement to that effect on behalf of 
this church and congregation. 

The reading however of the letter and the reso- 
lutions had called out a storm of questions. 
Those questions were imprudently answered by 


members of the session, and the private meetings 
became public property. 

Although the action had been hitherto unani- 
mous certain members of the session felt deeply 
hurt at things said to the now weary and heart- 
sick pastor. That the resignation was forced 
upon my father was not only known, but even 
brutally boasted about by one of those opposed 
to him. The storm of indignation that at once 
broke loose was a tribute to the immense power 
my father yielded. The session was at once in 
difficulty, and felt that they were without sup- 
port in the congregation. From the situation 
only some strong word of support from the pas- 
tor stating that the resignation was wholly vol- 
untary could save them. But a truthful denial 
was under the circumstances impossible. One 
of the members of his session summed up the situ- 
ation in a letter to my father of the i8th of 

My DEAR Dr. Hall : 

I must express to you ray feelings of sadness in the 
treatment you have received from the majority of our session. 
I cannot forget the harsh words spoken to you by some of 
them — you who have been so faithful and so untiring for such a 
number of years. I cannot understand how they can expect 
you now to come and stand in the breach which their blunder- 
ing has brought about. 

After leaving the room last evening some of them said that 


if you would write a strong letter all would be made right. I 
said how can you expect Dr. Hall to write a strong letter after 
the way some of the session have spoken to him. I do not 
think you should say any more than what you did in your letter 
of resignation. If you leave hundreds will follow you, and 
leave the church to go elsewhere, so it will not be for the good 
of the congregation. I trust you will stand where you are and 
let the congregation show you and the session what they desire. 
I am yours very truly. 

Hundreds of letters came pouring in. Many 
called, and in three days it was plain that the 
resignation under such circumstances would lead 
a large number to leave the church. Members 
of the session had led my father to believe that 
practically the whole of the congregation had 
been sounded, and desired his resignation; 
he was now willing to leave the whole matter 
to the congregation. This was the course urged 
by advisers in whom he trusted. 

On the nineteenth of January the congregation 
met and passed the following resolutions: 

Whereas, The session of the Fifth Avenue 
Presbyterian Church has called this meeting of 
the congregation to take action on the proposed 
resignation of our pastor, Dr. John Hall, referred 
to in his letter to the session under date of Jan- 
uary 6th, 1898, 

Resolved, That the congregation respectfully 
decline to accept or to approve of such proposed 


resignation, and also decline to appoint commis- 
sioners for the purpose of uniting witti the pas- 
tor in seel<:ing a dissolution of the pastoral rela- 
tion by the presbytery; and 

Resolved, That adopting as an expression of the 
feelings of this congregation, the several peti- 
tions and resolutions of the Ladies' Auxiliary, the 
Young Women's Missionary Society, the Young 
People's Association, the Sunday-school, and of 
the members of the church and congregation 
presented herewith as part of this resolution, and 
tendering to Dr. Hall the loving assurance of co- 
operation with him in the future work of this 
church, the congregation urgently request him to 
reconsider and withdraw any and all action taken by 
him looking towards such resignation ; and further, 

Resolved, That Messrs. Robert Bonner, Samuel 
B. Schieffelin, William Brookfield, J. Henry 
Work and Mrs. Theodore Weston be appointed 
a committee to communicate these resolutions to 
Dr. Hall; and that this meeting do stand ad- 
journed for two weeks from this date, for their 
report, and for such other action as may be 
deemed proper. 

January 14th, i8g8. 
At a special meeting of the Ladies' Auxiliary to the Boards 
of Home and Foreign Missions of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian 
Church, called by the Executive Committee and held this day 


with a large attendance of its members, the following preamble 
and resolution were unanimously adopted : 

Whereas, We, the members of the Ladies of the Auxiliary 
to the Boards of Home and Foreign Missions of the Fifth 
Avenue Presbyterian Church, have heard with deep sorrow and 
regret of the resignation of our beloved pastor, Rev. John Hall, 
D. D., LL. D. 

And Whereas, We, as an organization representing an im- 
portant department of the work of the women of the church, and 
profoundly loving the church to which we are bound by the 
closest ties of inheritance and personal consecration, feel it our 
duty and our privilege to accept our full share of responsibility 
for every act of the church, which may affect the honor of the 
Great Head of the Church, of our church itself, or of our 
pastor ; 

Therefore, Resolved, That while as individuals, we have made 
haste to express our sense of the deep personal obligation to Dr. 
Hall, which we feel for his faithful teaching and exhortation, for 
his ready sympathy in every time of joy and sorrow, and for his 
tender ministrations in the dark hours of bereavement, we do 
now desire, as an organization, to publicly express our love, our 
confidence and our loyalty to Dr. Hall and respectfully but 
most earnestly to request the church not to accept his proffered 

We therefore request that this paper be read at the meeting of 
the church and congregation to be held on Wednesday, January 
19th, 1898, in behalf of this Auxiliary. 

(Signed) Catherine B. Weston, President. 

Mary G. Janeway, Secretary. 

Whereas, We, the members of the Young Women's Mis- 
sionary Society of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, have 
heard with deep regret of the resignation of our beloved pastor, 
Rev. John Hall, D. D., LL. D., 

Whereas, We, as an organization, representing in our 


membership nearly every family of the church, bound by 
closest ties and deep devotion to both pastor and church, have 
met together with a full sense of our responsibility, both personal 
and as a society. 

Whereas, We realize all Dr. Hall has been and is to each 
one of us by his sympathy, his encouragement and his example, 
that by his teaching and preaching he has inspired us with a 
living interest in missions, and loving him wilh all our 

Resolved, That we hereby make public expressions of our 
love and loyalty to Dr. Hall, That we respectfully and earnestly 
request the church not to accept his resignation. 

Maria Louisa Schieffelin, President. 

Whereas, Our beloved pastor. Dr. John Hall, has handed 
to the session of our church his resignation as pastor and the 
session have called a meeting of the members of the church to 
consider this resignation, and 

Whereas, We, the members of the Young People's Associa- 
tion of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, desire publicly 
to express our love and devotion for Dr. Hall, and our deep 
grief at learning of his resignation, and our complete confidence 
in him as our spiritual guide, our pastor and our friend, and, 
further, that it is not our wish that he resign as we appreciate 
all that he has done for us as younger members of his congrega- 
tion by counsel and by example and by his active interest in our 
association as has been shown by his presence at nearly all our 
religious meetings, and as we, or at least many of us, owe him 
special affection on account of his ministrations in baptizing us 
into the church and also in being the means of leading us to a 
public acknowledgment of our faith in Jesus Christ, 

Be it Resolved, That we respectfully request Dr. Hall to re- 
consider his resignation, and we most earnestly hope that it will 
not be accepted by the said meeting of the congregation. 

Be it Resolved Further, That we request that this resolution 


be read by the moderator at the meeting of the church and 
congregation to be held on Wednesday, January 19th, 1S98, on 
behalf of this Association. 

William Sloane, President. 
Elizabeth Ellen Anchincloss, Secretary. 

Whereas, The Woman's Employment Society of the Fifth 
Avenue Presbyterian Church, have heard, with profoundest 
sorrow, of the resignation of our beloved friend and pastor. Dr. 
John Hall, whose philanthropic heart and kindly counsel made 
our labors both lovely and successful. 

Therefore be it resolved that we, in all sincerity, pray that 
Dr. Hall may reconsider his determination to lay down the pas- 
torate, which has so greatly blessed our city, and glorified God, 
and that he may continue to guide us with his counsel and 
" break unto us the bread of life." 

We, Therefore, request that his resignation be not concurred 
in and that any commissioners who may be appointed to go to 
the presbytery be instructed to oppose the acceptance of his 
resignation, and that this paper be read by the moderator at the 
meetmg of the church and congregation to be held on January 
nineteenth, 1898. 

Fannie Ogden Dutcher, Secretary. 

The only communication from my father was 
a letter through the moderator saying: 

My dear Brother : 

Let me ask you, as the presiding officer of the evening, 
to inform the congregation that I have agreed to the resolution 
of the session that my resignation should not take effect until 
next June. My earnest prayer is that God in His goodness 
will direct such steps as will make for Christian harmony and 
continued usefulness of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. 
Yours fraternally 

J. Hall. 


To the committee my father made the follow- 
ing communication: 

My dear Friends: 

On the 6th of January in presenting my resignation of 
the pastorate of the congregation at a meeting of session I 
offered to give up work at once, or to go on until a successor 
should be found. One of a series of very kind resolutions of 
the session vi'as that a meeting of the church and congregation 
should be held on January igth to take action on the resigna- 
tion, according to our form of government. 

That meeting was held on January the 19th and it was duly 
reported to me that the clerk of session was the secretary, that 
several of the elders were present, and that there was no other 
view presented than that — as you were appointed to inform me 
— my resignation should not be accepted ; and no committee 
was appointed to carry the matter to presbytery. 

Believing that this meeting represented the feelings of the 
church and congregation, and having had many most tender 
appeals from members, and there having been no other course 
suggested by the officers of the church, I announced from the 
pulpit on the following Lord's day my willingness to continue 
in service, so long as strength was given from above, and this 
was done from an earnest desire to quiet anxiety on the subject 
and continue the happy Christian unity of the congregation. 
In Dr. Hodge's book on Presbyterian Law there is a statement 
of what is to be done under such circumstances by the pastor 
(section quoted). Let me add, dear friends, as representing 
the congregation, that I mean to continue as active pastor, only 
while the services are for the spiritual good of the congregation. 
I am responsible to the Head of the Church for the best interests 
of the members, whether rich or poor, and God helping me I 
shall do the best I can for them. Considering the many years 
of work graciously given me, that period cannot be very re- 
mote, and my prayer is that the Divine Head of the Church 
may direct to the harmonious choice of an " able minister " as 


successor ; and in the meantime, if it seem fit, to a competent 
assistant. I am, dear brethren in the good hope through grace, 

Truly yours 

John Hall. 

The result, although foreseen by some, dis- 
tressed my father beyond measure. The trustees 
resigned in a body, and nine of the elders ten- 
dered their resignations, saying they regarded the 
step as forced upon them by the action of the 

Undoubtedly hard things had been said of the 
session, and it was true that they undoubtedly 
deeply misunderstood the mind of the congrega- 
tion, and no longer represented it. A strong 
body of trustees was at once elected to take the 
place of those resigned, but delay was urged to 
see if the session might not be reconstituted as 
of old. This was found to be impossible, the 
resignations were accepted and good men were 
elected in their places. Some left the church, but 
the enthusiasm called out by the struggle to re- 
tain their beloved pastor far more than offset any 
such losses. 

The strain of a long interval since then without 
a pastor has been splendidly withstood, and after 
my father's death upon obtaining competent 
leadership the work of the church was resumed 


with full vigor, and perhaps with an increased 
sense of congregational responsibility for the 
success and condition of all the work in which 
the church was engaged. 

The scenes of affection, and the evidences of 
devotion deeply touched my father. 

He had however felt a shock that warned him 
how deeply his life was bound up with his peo- 
ple. A coarse insulting letter from a member of 
his session utterly misrepresenting the course of 
events was the only incident on which 1 ever 
heard from him an indignant word. The mis- 
representation of his motives, the coldness of 
those whom he loved as his children, and the 
shameful misrepresentations of the feelings of 
the congregation had done their work. The 
proud, shy, self-contained heart, schooled to self- 
control, to passionate pity, and to tender con- 
sideration for every one but itself, broke under 
the strain. The shadow of the coming transla- 
tion was already on the home. 



One loves to mark the setting sun, 
Sink in the west, his day's work done, 
With good to all — with harm to none. 
In the quiet evening time ! 

One loves to mark the lessening light. 
And mark the steps of coming night. 
While home and life to him are bright 
In the quiet evening time. 

One loves in easy window chair 
To breathe the cooler evening air. 
And think of all things calm and fair, 
In the quiet evening time. 

One loves to think of rest at last, 
To come at length, now coming fast, 
When all life's toils and griefs are past 
In the quiet evening time. 

One loves to summon well-loved friends. 
Whose memory with his heart-life blends. 
From graves at earth's remotest ends 
In the quiet evening time. 

One loves to think how silent night, 
Gives place at length to morning light. 
When west and east will all be bright; 
In the quiet evening time. 

— J. Hall. 
March sth, 1882. 
Published in the New York Ledger. 





THE wonderful self-possession that marked 
my father's life at any crisis, never left 
him during the agitations and excitements of the 
days of great strain in the beginning of 1898. 
After the successful reorganization of the church, 
and after the election of a strong body of trustees 
had insured the pecuniary affairs, he took up 
work with seeming vigor; the workers were 
called together, the various branches of church- 
life reviewed. The session that had resigned had 
desired to close a mission church which my father 
thought the congregation under a moral obligation 
to maintain, the funds for keeping it up were at 
once put into the new session's hands, and the offer 
of the sale of the building was withdrawn. The 
congregations increased, no doubt, in part through 
the publicity given to the resignation and its with- 



The outward composure was however paid for 
by a heavy price. Naturally a man of peace, 
dearly devoted to the interests of the congregation, 
it had been a heavy blow to be dealt with so 
roughly. Men of affairs, accustomed to battle 
with not overscrupulous opponents; roughened 
by life on the plane of the ethics of " the street," 
and accustomed to force their plans to an issue 
without much consideration for others' feelings, 
were not in a position to judge of what the dis- 
turbance, and their desertion of my father cost 
him. The crisis came when relative peace and 
harmony had been restored by the withdrawal 
from the counsels of the Church of all save one 
or two of those not in sympathy with the pastor. 
On March 25th my father was taken suddenly 
with trouble of the poor weary heart. He 
struggled manfully against the rapidly increasing 
disablement. In May he presided at the com- 
munion service, but speaking was too great a 
risk, and although he conducted some funerals 
and married a few couples, he had to forego 
preaching, and in June was sent by the doctors 
across the water to find the rest which now 
alone promised any hope of recovery. The 
present writer was in Europe and hurried at 
once to England to meet the parents at Buxton 


whither the doctors had sent them. The change 
wrought by that fatal winter was all too ap- 
parent. The strong ceaseless worker was a 
broken and tired-out patient. No complaints 
were on his lips, but the pulse was irregular, and 
the breathing often bad; what the doctors 
ordered was gently and uncomplainingly taken, 
in Buxton the strength seemed at least to hold 
out, and having made arrangements to meet the 
parents again the writer went back to the conti- 

While at Buxton a great longing overcame my 
father to visit once more the old home amid the 
green fields of Ireland. He longed again to ex- 
change greetings with the sisters whose love 
never left him. 

Unwilling to postpone his visit he telegraphed 
me not to come back to Ireland, and that he and 
my mother would make the journey alone. That 
I knew to be out of the question and leaving 
Austria I hurried as fast as possible up to the 
north of England and arrived in time to catch 
them still there. The change in the few weeks 
was all too obvious. The springy step was the 
slow pace of a worn-out man. Heart stimulant 
had to be taken at intervals that seemed most 
alarming. The journey to Ireland passed off 


fairly well, and fair weather favored the 

Great was my father's delight to find at Holy- 
head Dr. and Mrs. Hamilton Magee his old col- 
lege chum and his wife, lifelong devoted friends. 
That little meeting was sweet and fragrant with 
tender words of love and confidence, even as if 
each knew that only in the everlasting peace 
would they see each other again. 

In Dublin a rest had to be taken. On Sabbath 
morning we went together back to the old 
familiar church on Rutland Square, where in 
days now forever past crowds had hung on the 
words of gentle comfort, strong warning and 
glorious offers of eternal life. It was the last 
public service he was ever to attend. 

My father could scarcely bare the strain of 
standing, and the kindly greetings of those who 
came up to him awestruck and saddened by the 
great change, greatly wearied him. One has 
borne witness in print to the impression then 

"That Dr. Hall had been wounded, harassed, 
humihated no one who saw the change these 
last years made in him could doubt. With sad 
hearts his friends saw him a broken man, and 
this at the end of his long, faithful life. Perhaps 


it was all needed to loosen the strong ties of 
earth. The storm made him welcome the haven. 
Perhaps he needed to know more fully than he 
had yet known 'the fellowship of His suffer- 
ings.' Anyhow he has won his rest." 

The old strong longing for the fields of the 
quiet north of Ireland made itself felt, but the 
physical condition made the journey impossible. 
Monday he rested, and on Tuesday got up and 
drove out for a little. That day our visit was 
made to the old time friend of long ago; Mr. 
Smith of the Vice Regal Lodge gardens was 
sought out. He also was nearing the setting 
sun, and waiting for the dayspring from on 
high. In broken accents prayer was offered up, 
and as we drove away through the once so 
familiar fields of Phoenix Park old memories of 
past friendships and bright hopes of future re- 
unions stirred my father to an outburst of gentle 
thankfulness for God's wonderful goodness 
amid the calms as amidst the storms of his life. 
The journey to Bangor was to have been broken 
at Belfast, but my father's impatience to see his 
sister would brook no delay, and we went on. 
This journey tested all his strength, and with 
difficulty he was gotten to bed in the home on 
Crawfordsburn Road that was to be for him the 


portal to the Eternal City. He had hoped to 
visit Ballygorman, the place of his childhood and 
birth. This was no longer to be thought of, but 
to satisfy him 1 left him for a night, and brought 
back word from the old home, and warned the 
sorrowing sisters of the serious character of the 

Ceaselessly my mother tended with untiring 
love the gentle uncomplaining invalid. For those 
last days a Heavenly Father gave a most remark- 
able strength and endurance to one, who had 
herself been very near the gates. Towards even- 
ing one day my father ventured a few steps 
from the house to overlook the sea, on which the 
evening sun was shining, tipping the wavelets 
with a golden red. To him it seemed an image 
of that everlasting beauty awaiting him in the 
presence of his Saviour King. 

Now and then he asked me if his voice was 
weak. It was, alas, weak and husky, but this, 
1 assured him was natural after so severe an ill- 
ness. His sisters and old friends from Belfast 
visited him, and he seemed cheered and helped 
by these visits. Indeed in Dublin also faithful 
friends greatly comforted him, and when at the 
station a lifelong and dearly loved friend brought 
her sister's little girls with fruit and flowers he 


was wonderfully brightened up and cheered by 
it. Yet on the whole, weakness asserted itself 
more and more. Less and less did the beating 
heart respond to the remedies, and when on 
Wednesday I returned from the old homestead 
with news from Ballygorman, the physician in 
charge had wisely telegraphed for assistance from 
Belfast. But the specialist could do no more than 
was being done. The diagnosis was muscular 
degeneration of the heart, what is so pathetically 
called in popular tongue "the sad heart" a con- 
dition the doctor said — although knowing noth- 
ing of the circumstances of my father's illness — 
due to worry and anxiety. The doctors held out 
no hope. From that on only watching and wait- 
ing was our portion. There were intervals of 
restlessness, and then apathy, then a ceaseless 
struggle for breath marked the closing hours. 

The last night we watched together, mother 
and son, and when the morning broke, the sun 
shining over the water and flooding the room 
with splendid glory, the Saviour called the tired 
messenger home to peace and rest and his ever- 
lasting reward. 



Hebrews 4 : 9. 

There is a home for the child of God 

Whose sins have been all forgiven, 
And the weary believer forgets his load 

Of cares when he enters heaven — 
O ye ! whose hearts are with griefs opprest 
Rejoice for this world is not your rest. 

There is a friend in that world above 

And His love is deep and pure. 
That friend is Christ, and His arm is strong. 

And His mercy is ever sure. 
Hear this O ye ! who love His name 
He knows the weakness of your frame. 

And there is a heart in that world above 

With a love that is better than wine. 
For oh I how tender and large that heart 

And how filled with love divine ! 
O ye, whose comforts below are few, 
That heart is Christ's and He cares for you. 

And there are joys in that world above, 

The highest, and purest and best, — 
How sweet the news to a weary soul 

Of a near, eternal rest ! 
Rejoice and be glad ! for to you it is given 
To suffer and trust, but your rest is in heaven. 





THE passage for my parents had been taken 
on the Cunard Line for the 17th of Sep- 
tember, but, of course, word had been duly sent 
that illness would prevent their sailing. Arrange- 
ments were therefore now made for taking the 
dear remains the following week. The eldest 
son had arrived half-an-hour after the closing 
scene, having travelled in haste to Bangor. On 
Sabbath afternoon simple services were held in 
the home of the sister, Mrs. Magowan. 

In that home my father had had peculiar pleas- 
ure, as he aided in planning and building the 
house. The Rev. Mr. I. McCauly, the pastor of 
one of the Presbyterian churches in Bangor, most 
kindly and sympathetically conducted simple 
services, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Robert Patter- 
son and the Rev. Mr. Crawford. The moderator 
of the General Assembly most kindly desired 
more public recognition in the way of a larger 


service, but the health of my mother, and the 
dread of increasing a strain already great made 
such a course impossible. 

The funeral services in New York were on the 
morning of October the 4th, 1898, in the Fifth 
Avenue Presbyterian Church into which so much 
of my father's life had been built. Dr. John Mc- 
intosh of Philadelphia, Dr. Wm. M. Paxton of 
Princeton and the moderator of the General As- 
sembly of that year, the Rev. Dr. Radcliffe took 
charge of the services, and paid tributes to the 
worth and services of him whom God had taken. 
On Wednesday morning the remains were taken 
to Woodlawn and laid to rest beside the beloved 
nephew, the Rev. John Magowan, and near his 
stepson Major John Irwin. The final arrange- 
ments of the monument have not yet been made, 
and only a simple head-stone with a reference to 
Daniel 12:3, marks the place where lies the sacred 

Great was the outburst of real sorrow when 
the news spread that the great preacher and 
faithful pastor was to be seen and heard no 
more on earth. In London, Edinburgh, Dublin, 
Belfast, Glasgow, as well as all the principal 
cities of the United States, memorial sermons 
were preached, and memorial services were held. 


Great numbers of ecclesiastical bodies on both 
sides of the water, Methodists, Baptists, Congre- 
gational, Episcopalian and others, joined in trib- 
utes of esteem and sorrow. Nearly all the Eng- 
lish written press on both sides of the Atlantic 
and many foreign journals contained estimates 
of the power and value of the life that had passed 
away. The London Times paid a warm tribute 
to the influence of the life that was closed; and 
what marked nearly all these estimates was the 
prominence given to the directness and simplic- 
ity of the life and work. It was agreed that the 
elements that went to make up my father's char- 
acter were not unduly complex, yet poise, in- 
dustry, strength of conviction and masterly con- 
trol of all those elements gave extraordinary 
force to the life. 

The widow, three sons, a stepson and one 
daughter survive the father; and were all so far 
as health permitted present at the last sad offices. 
For him to die was gain. A life singularly un- 
selfish and remarkably unspoilt by unbroken suc- 
cess went down at last amid the cloud-storms of 
opposition and betrayal; but God gave sweet 
peace, and gently took a faithful servant home to 
join in the chorus of redemption in the presence 
forever of his Saviour King.